Industry Update
Opinion Article26 January 2016

Marketing Takes on the Digital World

In the coming year, the hyper-personalization of highly engaging and relevant content will be the primary key to ensure successful marketing initiatives in the digital world

By Alan Young, President of Puzzle Partner Ltd.

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Digital marketing is a term that is used frequently, but has the time come to stop considering it an entity that is separate from overall marketing strategies?

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The reality is that all marketing today contains a massive digital component. Today's strategies must be conceptualized with the digital nature of the modern consumer in mind, as opposed to being an add-on to another marketing plan. People of all ages are increasingly running their lives with digital devices, and there is a growing expectation for the experience to be customized to their personal interests and needs.

At the same time, there are many organizations that continue to separate digital from other marketing avenues, with segregated teams that do not work together cohesively. While this made sense in the early days of digital, it simply isn't the most effective approach anymore.

To achieve marketing maturity in an ever-evolving landscape, companies must build an adaptable business structure that allows their team to be unified in working toward a single goal. The need to create high quality messaging is key, and marketers must continue to develop engaging and insightful content regardless of the medium.

Although traditional channels still exist, it's important to create digital cultures rather than marketing silos in order to fully integrate skills throughout organizations as we move into the future. The array of marketing activities need to be interwoven to develop robust campaigns that achieve success across the board, allowing for traditional to influence digital, and vice versa.

What can we expect to see in the coming year?

Content marketing has grown exponentially over the past couple of years, and it shows no sign of slowing down in the coming period. While it can be easy to get caught up in the complexities of SEO elements, it's essential to remember that the key is delivering fresh and relevant content that resonates with your target audience.

A new marketing focus is shifting away from simply creating more content to providing the right content. Consumers now expect personalized and hyper-relevant information that is delivered to them instantly wherever they are engaging, whether that is on social, email or any other channel. The pressure to consistently provide a seamless and enticing experience will increase and marketers must meet this demand to achieve success.

Ad-blocking is also on the rise, which will have a big effect on the future of marketing. The model of delivering free content that is funded by display advertising, such as banners and pop-ups, is therefore becoming less effective. Taking advantage of cleaner platforms that showcase truly relevant content as part of a cohesive communications strategy will help marketers to avoid losing ground from the growing usage of ad-blocking software.

The Gold Mine of Data

Predictive analytics is becoming increasingly useful to assist with the efficient allocation of marketing budgets. By utilizing the latest tools and techniques to make sense of the massive amount of data that is being generated with each impression and click, there is a tremendous opportunity to make the most out of every marketing dollar that is spent.

Most organizations are spending marketing dollars across many different channels. The ability to attribute value to each touchpoint in the path to purchase will allow marketers to accurately predict the budget allocation that will perform best. Additionally, predicting the probability of an audience to become a customer allows the focus to be on high value prospects.

Modern consumers expect a high level of personalization. By combining digital experiences with customer data, it becomes possible to predict the groups of users that are more or less likely to respond to different types of messages, offers and imagery. Today's personalization tools allow marketers to deliver customized content that matches a consumer's interests and expectations with a much higher degree of accuracy than has been possible in the past.

Beacon is the New Mobile

Considering the growing prevalence of mobile shopping, beacon technology usage is expected to increase exponentially in the coming year. Location-based marketing offers attention-grabbing ways to engage with consumers by providing them with discounts and other information on their smartphone when they are in close proximity to a store.

A 2015 study by Air Mile operator LoyaltyOne, in partnership with the Canadian Marketing Association, indicates that 62% of Canadian consumers who were surveyed are using their smartphones to assist them while shopping, with this number increasing to 80% among millennials. Impressively, 45% of the respondents said that they have used a device in-store that has led them to make an immediate purchase. When asked what they find appealing about connecting with retailers through in-store beacons, 62% of respondents said that they like the idea of receiving rewards that are relevant to their location, while 56% appreciate receiving alerts that are related to their whereabouts.

Certainly, the meteoric rise of mobile marketing has prompted a growing number of smartphone users to opt-in to location-based deals. Although this requires consumers to expose their personal data and proximity to retailers, many believe that the incentive of exclusive, time-sensitive specials or rewards are worth the sacrifice of an element of privacy. At the same time, it's important to find the most effective quantity of location-based services to send, as 23% of the survey respondents indicated that they have uninstalled or opted out of push notifications from a retailer's app due to the frequency of messaging.

We are now living in an era where digital marketing can no longer be considered a stand-alone entity. The organizations that are most effective have removed marketing silos to create unified messaging concepts across all types of media and campaigns. In the coming year, the hyper-personalization of highly engaging and relevant content will be the primary key to ensure successful marketing initiatives in the digital world.

About Puzzle Partner

Puzzle Partner Ltd. is a boutique marketing agency that specializes in helping hospitality and travel innovators achieve winning performance and dramatic growth. We are experts at combining strategy and tactical execution in a way that doesn't just maximize a company's potential; it redefines it. By delivering relevant, proven and effective marketing services and public relations rooted in the skills of our people and tested through real-world experience, we help our clients gain visibility, raise their profile and ultimately increase their sales revenues. To learn more visit puzzlepartner.co.

Alan Young

Alan E. Young is the President of Puzzle Partner Ltd. and co-founder of Next Big Thing Travel & Hospitality. Previously, Alan has held executive sales and marketing level positions with startup companies such as Newtrade Technologies, (acquired by Expedia), Hotel Booking Solutions (acquired by IBS Software) and TrustYou.

    More from Alan Young

    About Puzzle Partner

    Puzzle Partner is the most trusted marketing agency focused exclusively on complex B2B initiatives for the travel and hospitality technology industry. We are experts at combining strategy and tactical execution in a way that doesn't just maximize a company's potential; it redefines it. By delivering influential content, marketing services, and public relations rooted in the skills of our team and tested through real-world experience, we help our clients gain visibility, raise their profile and ultimately increase their sales revenues. To learn more visit puzzlepartner.co.

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