Before the Christmas period, the teams penned their thoughts on what 2017 has in store across SEO, web development, social, paid search and digital media. But before I delve in and discuss some of these top predictions, I want to share some of the key themes that I recommend every business and marketer should address in the coming months.
2017 will (again) be the year of the mobile and with improving geo-proximity targeting capabilities, companies need to think about customers and prospects and how they relate ‘in the moment’. It will become even more important to understand the behavioural and lifestyle characteristics of your audiences so you can maximise the value from your marketing.
Attribution and Connected Data
Attribution and Connected Data will also become a key theme this year. Understandably, people behave like people, and not always as the marketers media channel plans envision, and with mobile’s rise in dominance comes a need for rethinking how a business measures attribution. Depending on the size of your business, the way you connect data to achieve this will need some thought but there is a growing number of toolkits out there that can make this accessible and financially sensible. We can help with this with very low level entry cost solutions – the difference in value to your business will be manifestly significant.
With Connected Data comes the opportunity to inform acquisition marketing activities with known customer data. Keeping this the correct side of the law, this can be partially CRM enabled. Either way, in reference to my earlier point about understanding behavioural and lifestyle characteristics, granular profiling will enable you to connect data to your marketing and improve its performance.
At its simplest this can be done from just a postcode profiling exercise. Connected Data can even make display advertising more profitable than other channels as it informs the creative and sales messages (read our case studies).
Beware of Fraudsters
Recognising that people are not algorithms and have their own inherent behaviours and lifestyle indicators brings me to fraud – sadly there are some unscrupulous individuals who have identified ways to utilise technology to conduct their fraudulent activities. Whether this is cash or advertising inventory, it’s really important that acceptable KPI’s are predicted and tracked, while ensuring the source of any fraudulent network is disabled. We are doing this consistently with real-time KPI decision making.
The topic of cybercrime crops up regularly when I speak to business owners and managers and it’s now one of the greatest threats to businesses. I recommend you remain vigilant and remember that we live in a world where even the latest tech gadget, such as a smart kettle connecting to the local Wi-Fi, can be an access point into your ‘secure’ environment. I have seen first-hand the costly damage a cyber-attack with malware can have on a business. Nevertheless, it’s a new year and with a common sense approach, you can make the most of the innovative opportunities available in our industry.
Video, TV Ads and The Halo Effect
Content in all formats and in particular video should most definitely be on your radar. Video content will continue to demonstrate itself as a highly effective way to engage, educate and convert prospects into sales.
The value of aligning “old school” TV with video on demand (VOD) and YouTube is becoming increasingly more evident. This approach can have a significant halo effect across all media and with careful planning, most of our clients deliver cost-effective sales just attributable to the commercial – the halo effect is a bonus! In terms of costs, high production values can be maintained at very attractive test rates.
Transparency - Using Data to Predict and Hit Your KPIs
Data (the correct data at least) will provide an accurate reflection of all marketing activities, allowing for accurate predictions and optimal ROI. Of course Google and other search engines offer low entry cost products that can help here and the new Google Data Studio (in beta) is a great product for turning data into informative reports that can be shared and understood by the rest of your organisation.
However, we know that both granular predictive modelling and campaign analytics are not currently available in a single package which is why we created equiEDGE six years ago (ERIC was its project name). equiEDGE is our million pound plus technology toolkit designed to predict and manage individual and mixed media channel campaigns.
We believe the transparency that toolkits such as equiEDGE can offer clients will lead to demand in 2017, and already we see the likes of Blackwood 7 et al are building momentum in this space. I would love to know what others think about this. As a result we will be talking at more events this year to help stimulate debate.
Brexit and 'Being the Best'
Our management teams’ three B's for 2017 are known collectively as ‘Brexit and being the best’. While none of us know what Brexit will bring, we are determined to focus on one thing, which is quite simply "being the best" at what we do.
Regardless of the challenges and opportunities, this focus will help us navigate and achieve mutual success for both clients and the business as a whole. I will talk more on this as we go through 2017.
Finally, with these five priorities in mind, I’ll be sharing my pick of the top digital marketing predictions for 2017 – many of which should be considered if you want to stay ahead of your competitors and engage with new and existing customers.