As with all aspects of work and life, marketing is evolving, and in many ways, that evolution is driven by technology.
AI-led personalisation, content marketing and data analytics all contribute to the refinement, changes and improvements in marketing. These things make it evermore possible to adapt, target and tailor marketing strategies to reach the right audience/audiences for a particular business.
When done well, the result of these technologies and approaches is less noise for the customer and a better return on investment for the organisation as a whole, driving profitability in a timely manner and improving brand value simultaneously. The ability to truly listen to and understand your audience through emerging technologies is a decisive benefit that's only set to improve with the future of marketing.
In this article, we look at what's happening, how, and how you can capitalise on the benefits.
Revolutionising marketing: insights from gigCMO on strategies shaping tomorrow's business landscape
At gigCMO, we harness the collective wisdom of evergreen and emerging best practices alongside the experience of a team of CMOs to deliver a permanently up-to-date solution for modern business marketing. We call this our 'Playbook' - a framework within which we can help businesses grow through our fractional CMO services.
This methodology allows us to take the different situations we have experienced in various industries, companies, periods and circumstances and see them from every vantage point.
Central to modern marketing are two things:
- Understanding that data is a powerful and essential tool that will help you create the best marketing strategy for your business as long as you know how to gather, analyse, and use it respectfully and without bias.
- It's essential to be willing to evolve and to have the flexibility within your structure to scale, add or remove capabilities as the marketing landscape and your business needs change.
Through our Fractional CMO services, it's that knowledge, experience and flexibility that we bring in refined form - enabling businesses to optimise their marketing capacity and their return on investment with some of the best experience in the world at their fingertips.
Here are some of the ways technology is changing and advancing the future of marketing:
Unveiling the power of AI-driven marketing strategies
Much is being made of AI-driven marketing, particularly with the much-anticipated advent of Google's Generative AI updates. Many people fear AI, worrying that it will wipe out their marketing efforts to date.
In reality, AI is a positive step for marketing, helping marketers make data-driven decisions and understand customer preferences and behaviours in real time. On a practical note, it's also likely to help automate repetitive tasks, freeing up talent within your team to focus on the more strategic elements of your marketing. Together, these things will help personalise and streamline customer experiences, thereby improving targeting and conversion rates.
Furthermore, AI will likely speed up your marketing and the results you get from it. For example, by minimising the time spent on administrative tasks and maximising the knowledge, targeting and impact of marketing campaigns, you will be able to make refinements more quickly and see results from digital marketing campaigns faster.
However, what associated changes in search may also mean, on a granular level, is redefining some of your metrics for success. For example, marketers have often looked at the click-through rate as a marker of success regarding website functionality. However, as many as 57% of searches result in no click from the SERP (zero-clock searches). This usually isn't because the website in question isn't providing a satisfactory answer, but because Google answer boxes mean that the answer is visible within the SERP without having to click through. As a result, the user may go on to click through for a related search or leave there, which means marketers need to consider the customer's online journey as a discovery process more than a search process.
Content marketing: crafting compelling customer experiences
Content is fundamental to modern marketing, from feeding the search engine to optimising the user experience. Content is more than providing information - it's about inspiring, telling stories, communicating and informing. It's about making connections, and in the dynamic world of digital marketing, compelling content is the heartbeat of success.
Separating your business identity from another's, content is a human connection in a digital world, designed not simply to win a sale but to win a lifelong customer. Content spans the whole spectrum of communication, from blog posts to social media, website copy, email marketing, podcasts, videos and beyond. The important thing about content is that it's the basis of SEO, brand authority, lead generation and social media. Central to getting it right for your business, however, is:
- Understanding your audience
- Knowing your goals
- Doing your keyword research
- Delivering well-researched, well-written, high-quality content
- Incorporating strong visual assets, including images, video and infographics
- Sticking to a consistent publishing schedule
Data-driven decision-making: the path to business success
As the name suggests, data-driven decision-making (DDDM) is using data to inform strategic business decisions. The antithesis of the historic practice of relying on intuition, perceived industry trends or experience alone, it's about using hard evidence to validate your course of action. This is collecting and analysing historical and real-time data, finding patterns and insights, and using them to inform decision-making processes.
DDDM is one of the greatest strengths of modern marketing, but in a world of unlimited data, the skill is as much about what data to collect, how to analyse it, and how to use that information effectively. Without those capabilities, you can drown in the sheer volume of it all. In addition, timing is everything. As technology evolves, we can see data in real-time rather than retrospectively, even predictively.
The benefits of DDDM are that they enable businesses to make better, more informed and more targeted decisions and react quickly to changing market conditions without panicking.
The personalisation revolution
Personalisation is at the forefront of modern marketing and is very much linked with data-driven decision-making and AI processes. Tailoring marketing messages to audiences and individuals is the direction marketing is going in.
There are obvious reasons for this - the more information you have about a prospect or customer, the more you can provide information that will help you to understand if they're the right customer for you, delivering messages more likely to result in conversion to sales.
Amazon is a reigning monarch of personalised marketing, which recommends items based on past purchases more accurately than your typical Facebook advert. Subscription platforms are particularly adept at personalisation because they consistently receive information on customer behaviour individually.
Importantly, this can increasingly work on a granular level, with machine learning able to supercharge that capability. Importantly, however, personalisation is only as good as the data you have and analyse.
Voice search: a new frontier in marketing
Amongst the updates emerging in online search functions, voice-powered search capabilities are fast growing thanks to home assistants, wearable tech and smart speakers, including Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google. More than 80% of Google searches are voice searches, giving people quick answers on the go.
This marks a behavioural change in how people search - typically speaking as though to a person. So, whereas you might type 'restaurants in London' into Google, people are more likely to say, 'Which restaurants are near me?' and assume a level of knowledge in the system.
What is also important to remember is that with voice search, only the first-ranking answer will be used by Alexa/Siri/Google/Cortana. Therefore, it's better to focus on your specialist area than to try to answer all the generic questions around your subject area. Work out where you stand out and focus on speaking to the customers who are looking for you.
Influencer marketing 2.0
Influencer marketing has been around for a long time, but Influencer marketing 2.0 is about making content work harder. This is a much more professional approach to influencer marketing, which sees brands adapt the content generated by creators so it can be placed across the entire marketing ecosystem, from TV to retail media, where traditionally, it was limited mainly to social media.
This evolution is partly because social media platforms have expanded their features, with shopping functionalities, for example. As brands make all digital content stoppable, they will seek to tie their influencer marketing into the whole spectrum of marketing capabilities, deepening the importance and power of influencers to the brands they work with.
Forbes writes: "Influencer 2.0 could see a rise in brands forming these deeper partnerships with influencers, whereby influencers are integrated into special product releases, provide valuable customer research to help inform innovation road maps, and advise more intimately on the brands' broader creative and marketing strategies."
Sustainability in Marketing
Sustainability on a meaningful level has become increasingly crucial for brands as savvy consumers emerge, seeing through greenwashing and virtue signalling. In B2B businesses, communicating provable sustainability credentials is just as important as the B2C landscape, forming part of their own value chain, messaging and ESG decision-making. The critical part of sustainability marketing is to be able to evidence what you're doing and to show that it's a value that runs meaningfully through your organisation.
For example, sustainable commerce leader Patagonia has pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment since 1985. They have also awarded over $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities.
Automation for Efficiency
Automation in marketing is a constructive way to optimise campaigns for maximum impact and accuracy while reducing time-consuming manual labour. For example, it can be used for automated email nurturing campaigns, followed by automated lead-scoring capabilities that can be passed to the sales team at the right time.
However, for automation to work correctly, it needs to be fed the correct information, and it needs to be monitored with human intelligence. For example, when Smart Shopping was introduced, pulling product data from a feed and using it to create Shopping ads, many brand campaigns zeroed in on brand ad terms because they had the best performance rates, thereby scaling down all other paid search terms. However, brand ad terms had the best performance rates because they targeted people who already knew the brand and were searching for it, so the automated action didn't help businesses grow their customer base. Human intelligence has to be present to oversee these actions and adapt them where necessary.
Automated marketing processes also need to be part of a strategy conceived by an experienced team. Helpfully, automation frees up time, space and financial resources for that higher level executive function and marketing strategy planning to be organised by team members.
Future-proofing your marketing with gigCMO – get started now!
At gigCMO, our model is designed to maximise the benefits of your in-house team and your digital marketing strategy and enable you to tap into, scale up and scale down new and emerging skills and resources as you need them. With this highly skilled, experienced and flexible approach, your business always has what it needs to optimise its marketing quickly, efficiently and all in one place.
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