Back in January 2018, we predicted that the coming year would bring increased customer centricity, advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the unstoppable rise of multi-channel shopping. We weren’t disappointed!
To bring the year to a close, we asked our team: Which trend will have the biggest impact on marketing technology in 2019?
CEO & Co-founder
Social proof will enhance personalization
Personalization is becoming increasingly important, and the next step is to drive a cohesive cross-channel experience for customers. The ability to provide relevant and consistent content and offers across channels will become a key differentiator for retailers in an increasingly competitive market.
For the travel and retail sectors, the ability to drive social proof will be increasingly important to maximize sales from customers brought to the site by expensive acquisition options such as paid ads. Social proof widgets emphasizing scarcity and/or popularity of products will help to support purchase decisions from first-time site visitors. These will become "must have" tactics within the cross-channel personalization toolkit.
Reporting and testing will get easier
Most marketers still lack the data to judge the effectiveness of most of their marketing, both at the channel level and the item level. For example, "click data" and "last click" attribution are unhelpful for the majority of your marketing which is not clickable, or which acts as a reminder. Marketing platforms are maturing and starting to provide marketers with access to the real-time transactional data that they need, including testing what works.
Chief Innovation Officer & Co-founder
Director of Marketing
Martech stacks will mature and become better integrated
With one in two companies adding new marketing tools every six to twelve months, tech stacks are constantly evolving. Yet, one thing remains the same: marketers struggling with siloed applications from multiple vendors that are forcing them to work with data that is unfit-for-purpose and out-of-date. When asked to name their biggest obstacles to realizing greater value from internal data, respondents ranked system gaps that fail to connect data (56%) and data trapped in individual platforms (51%) on top. But marketers are no longer willing to accept the status quo. In 2019, we'll see companies do more to integrate their data sources by replacing point solutions with marketing platforms that centralize data collection and enable collaboration between key systems.
Artificial intelligence will drive scalable personalization
To offer the relevant, engaging content that customers expect, you need access to large volumes of data. Then you need to apply the data insights in the most relevant way for shoppers. Delivering personalization at a large scale will require automation and Artificial Intelligence. Retailers are already using AI to identify behavioral trends in online shopping, and to deliver personalized product recommendations. In the new year, I expect to see more brands complement the power and scalability of AI with human marketing know-how. Imagine a scenario where a retailer needs to sell a particular product range as quickly as possible. In that case, a marketer needs the ability to set their own marketing rules which may prioritize products differently from the AI.
Dr. Alaa Mohasseb
Research (KTP) Associate
AI will improve customer experience
In the era of big data, AI has emerged as an important tool for retailers with massive amounts of data about their customers. AI can simply turn big data into targeted shopping experiences by tailoring content based on customers' previous purchases, search habits, clicks, age, gender, and other variables. In the coming year, I believe that more self-learning algorithms will be customized and adapted to take what once was a lost customer and improve their experience by knowing what they need, and when they need it, before they even do.
Engaging customers with creative data capture and advanced personalization
Over the last year I've seen more and more clients take advantage of further targeted messaging beyond cart and browse abandonment emails. By fully customizing the content based on a number of factors - including products or categories browsed, stage of customer lifecycle, gender, location, and even weather - we are seeing some fantastic results. Based on this, my prediction is that this will continue, and companies will start to adopt more advanced forms of personalization. This of course doesn't need to be just within email. The options around web personalization work in the same way. Users want an easy UI that leads them to a quick purchase. By customizing the whole journey, from arrival to purchase follow-ups, retailers will vastly speed up this process and generate more loyal customers moving forwards.
However, it's critical to do this in a non-intrusive way. Some of the best advances that I saw last year were in more exciting ways to look at data capture than the standard "in-your-face" pop up. I expect this to continue into the next year as companies get more creative with their approach to gathering new leads. Now that the initial panic of GDPR is over, let’s focus on getting clean, organic leads from people who actually care about your brand. Then focus on keeping them interested through more advanced uses of personalization.
Prepare for 2019 with our Ultimate eCommerce Marketing Calendar - Packed full of a year’s worth of inspiration and ideas for all of your digital campaigns: