In September two of our team were lucky enough to attend Ad Week in New York, one of the world’s biggest, and best advertising conferences. To see what the week was like in pictures, make sure you check out our previous blog →here!
I was lucky enough to be one of the attendees, and it was a great experience to hear from other agencies, industry leaders and most importantly take a glimpse into what the future of digital advertising might look like. In reflecting on the conference I wanted to share some of my key take-outs and what brands should be considering as part of their digital marketing strategy for 2018.
The Age of Assistance
One of the key points that all the speakers agreed upon was that the more traditional approaches to digital marketing aren’t as effective as they used to be, and to get cut through you need to work within the ‘Age of Assistance’ model. This model is a customer-centric approach partnered with the increased integration of mobile phones in everyday life, meaning that customers are now expecting instant responses wherever they are.
As such we have seen a shift from marketing being a method of pushing products to customers to providing support, which Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Unilever, Keith Weed, calls “making marketing noble again”. Unilever in particular has identified this change and taken action to ensure they remain at the forefront of their industry for customer intimacy, by mapping out approximately 10 different customer journeys for each one of their many brands.
By respecting their customers’ actual needs and providing support along their journeys, Unilever have been able to create and maintain an emotional bond, and it’s this goal that is now at the centre of their business strategy. For them, it’s about being strategic with what they communicate by acknowledging that their customers are time poor and only requesting the customers attention when they are certain they can provide value.
Data, AI and ML – Putting Data at the Centre of Your Strategy
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are opening doors for us to improve many more creative areas, such as the convergence of commerce and content. Thanks to AI, it is now a lot easier to understand customers interests, and to customise assets for each user to avoid ad fatigue.
Gathering as much data as possible may sound like the best strategy to gain thorough insights, but it comes at a cost that not all businesses can afford. Collecting only the data you require to answer a pre-defined question or meet a specific goal can often be the ideal strategy. Whatever your approach, there are some golden rules which should be adhered to:
- The future of data belongs to the businesses that will team up with carefully chosen partners to share and cross check data;
- It is imperative to realise that AI can only play a role if the volume of data is large enough and of quality;
- Data should always be used with the direct objective of improving user experience, not to sell more.
So if you’re thinking of utilising new AI and ML technologies to improve your campaigns, make sure you speak with the experts as to how best to fit this within your business to ensure it will provide the right data you need.
A Glimpse into the Future of Marketing
The key trends for the future of marketing were identified as the continued growth of mobile, the arrival of voice technology and the arrival of Amazon in Australia.
The Continued Growth of Mobile
About half of the world is yet to come online, and when they do arrive, they will do so on mobile. It is therefore more than important to continue to improve the mobile experience of your website and offer not only a seamless, but truly enjoyable UX for your customers.
The Arrival of Voice Technology
Voice is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, with product placement opportunities offered in the form of valuable content. There will also be more emphasis on providing answers to very specific keyword strings (long-tail keywords) – we don’t talk the same way we write, and voice will become a real life assistant that people will use as if it were a friend. Some, like Chief Executive Office of WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell, even claim that the battle for voice technology is already crucial in order to future-proof your competitiveness.
Amazon in Australia
Although not so new for the rest of the world, Amazon is now in its infancy in Australia. When you consider that Chief Executive Office of WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell admitted that the ecommerce giant is the one thing that keeps him up at night, it emphasises how seriously we should take the news and prepare for it in Australia. Make sure you check out our previous blog on what Amazons arrival will mean for Australia →here.
Achieving Marketing Success in 2018
Despite the roads leading to success being many, there were three rules that most experts agreed upon throughout the conference.
- Agencies and clients alike need a transparent, fearless and accepting approach.
From an advertisers point of view, showing openness, transparency, and taking a seat at the table are fundamental values of the great agencies. In return, the best way advertisers can support their agency is by bringing only the final desired outcome to the table, and avoid self-diagnosing an approach.
- Integrate for success
Secondly, looking at your marketing efforts individually (the silo approach) as a way to achieve objectives is no longer the most effective way to measure success. Instead, it is suggested to bring all your teams together and to give them the same overarching KPI, then to highlight what their personal contributions to these end goals should be.
All of your teams should be fully transparent and share their learning and data with the entire business, to accelerate the learning curve and ensure consistency with the big picture.
- Measure for a customer-centric approach
Finally, brands and agencies should consider changing their measurement of success to mirror the customer-centric trends identified at Ad Week.
The most accurate way to assess the value of a channel is to switch your focus from the short-term last click attribution model, to a more meaningful approach such as the lifetime value of your customers. Putting this into practice means investing in strategic re-marketing tactics and accepting that everything you do before the sale, from the first contact to the closing touch point, is a valuable part of your acquisition journey.
We hope you’ve gained insights from these take outs, and that it has you thinking about your approach to digital in 2018. For further industry insights, don’t forget to check out the rest of the articles on our blog, or contact our digital experts on 1300 714 146.