When hundreds of digital marketers were asked what the hottest trends would be in the year ahead, they said that the year ahead would be dominated by a combination of trusted and evolving digital marketing approaches. Twenty percent of polled marketers thought that content marketing would be the single most important marketing activity in the year ahead while 14 percent, respectively, thought that big data and machine learning would be the most important marketing activities.
Also considered important were the following marketing approaches: mobile marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing campaigns, marketing automation, and social media marketing. Although these approaches should undoubtedly be part of every company’s comprehensive marketing strategy, content marketing is still considered the gold standard when it comes to digital marketing. Content marketing fuels engagement with customers and enables search engine optimization and email marketing: After all, most of these marketing approaches require actual content to be successful.
One of the more surprising inclusions on the list of up-and-coming marketing activities was big data, which shared the silver medal for most important marketing approach with machine learning. Big data and machine learning, of course, go hand-in-hand, but big data might just be a more critical foundation for your marketing because it provides the actionable insights that justify and target other marketing approaches for your company.
Big data includes things like market insights, customer insights, and predictive analytics. The richer and more accurate your data and insights can become, the more sophisticated and targeted your marketing and marketing KPIs can be. In other words, big data can create a virtuous circle in which you’re able to target your marketing more effectively and subsequently discover more about which marketing approaches work best with targeted customers.
While big data and machine learning will definitely play more of a role in the marketing universe throughout 2018, customer personas and customer journey mapping will also play more of a starring role as well. Customer lifecycle marketing is predicated on the concept of sending out all kinds of targeted, and perhaps automated, digital marketing messages based around the current position of a particular customer in the buyer’s journey.
Customer lifecycle marketing takes into account that the perfect message sent at the wrong time is no longer perfect. Timing is everything. To fulfill all of your marketing goals in 2018 you’ll have to realize your customers’ needs potentially before they’re even aware of them.