From top left to right: RocketMill, ifour, Equator. From bottom left to right: BWP, Media Bounty, Impero
Marketing 'renaissance' trends are back. Email, direct mail, podcasts; the hark back to arguably simpler times communicating with audiences has been noted over the past year or so. The Drum Network asked its members, what other renaissance marketing techniques do you think we will be hit with this year? In Part 1, we looked at the necessity of video, long copy and customer engagement. Here our members look at the need to personalise customer experiences and a tangibility of product that is craved by millennials.
Sam Garrity, managing director, RocketMill
Within digital marketing the renaissance will be a creative one. We’ve done a great job with technology and data, enabling us to take advertisers toward a place where they can talk in a personalised fashion to audiences. However, this technical excellence is not being matched by engaging messaging and creative. We’ve been conditioned to think about algorithms, quality scores and metrics that can be measured neatly by numbers. We start by aiming to satisfying search algorithms rather than considering the emotional impact at the moment a human engages with our campaign.
In short, agencies, advertisers and publishers are not providing a valuable emotional experience to our audiences via digital advertising. Our ability to embed great creativity in our work, thinking like the marketers of old, will define our collective success over the next few years.
Léonie Sidgwick, senior strategist, ifour
Renaissance marketing trends will be pushing to the forefront in 2017, but only in so far as it supports personalised marketing. With so much noise, brands want to talk to consumers on an individual basis. This means agencies need to be selective in their approach, whether it's the comeback kid of collateral, the direct mailer or cutting edge tech in chatbots.
With inbox overload a daily occurrence, a beautifully crafted, meaningful piece of physical mail is now the exception rather than the norm and can offer much higher rates of engagement, despite the difficulties in tracking. Likewise, visiting a smart website that has learnt your preferences and shows relevant content first offers an improved UX and helps engender brand loyalty, just like the personalised messaging from a brand chatbot can on social media. This year, it doesn’t matter whether it’s old school or new cool, as long as it's personal.
Martin Jordan, innovation director, Equator
It’s easy to get excited about the potential of the Amazon Echo, AI and so on. But in this rush towards a world of Alexa-driven commands, there is one trend sliding right back into the marketing mix: customer relationship management (CRM). Way back in the 90s, CRM was exciting. Finally, with decent computers and a database understandable by mere mortals, marketers could actually target people based on something more than a hunch. But CRM became old hat as digital marketing techniques came in.
Fast-forward to 2017 and digital channels are no longer cheap and are increasingly untrackable. But inversely, we’re increasingly surrounded by devices that thrive on data. CRM is hot again. We can get back to targeting people, not just through email (which is seeing its own renaissance), but through proximity based personalised messaging, and, of course, smart assistants. And they can help populate that database without the marketer having to do much work at all.
Heck, without a good CRM system, these things are just fads that are as hollow a promise as a furniture store sale.
Kieron Weedon, strategy director, BWP
No, not a reference to Match.com’s research on the sex life of millennials; we have seen in 2016 and will continue to see through 2017 brands investing more in their physical locations. Even more fascinatingly, we’ll continue to see brands appearing in physical locations they haven’t been seen before, e.g. Tesla pop-ups and pure online players opening physical locations, e.g. Amazon.
That’s a retail trend not a marketing trend, I hear you say? Not so. What these brands have identified is the continued rise of the experience economy. Large segments of millennials and Gen Z shoppers are increasingly reverting to physical locations as part of their ‘aspirational browsing’ period. We are seeing a return to physical locations, not as pure sales channels, but as places of entertainment, where people can touch, feel, play and share those experiences with peers. This does mean many of the ‘old’ rules don’t apply – not just in terms of a shop fit-out, but more fundamentally in how retailers approach delivering frictionless online and offline experiences. We’ll see the title CXO becoming much more widely utilized as retailers look to breakdown the silos between digital, marketing, sales departments.
Matt Webster, co-founder, Media Bounty
2017 is partly about the analogue revival. People are tactile beings and that’s why we’ll see books being published in paperback and hardback in increasing numbers. Because having something physical to hold in your hands now feels like a treat. Lavish monthly, quarterly and special edition print magazines will also have a place in the tangible marketing mix, particularly if they are regional.
Vinyl and celluloid film's resurgence will persist. A growing reluctance to share everything with everyone will see dark social (enclosed group messaging) flourish.
And personalisation isn't going anywhere as marketing continues its shift towards consumer first rather than brand. We’ve seen the success of this with programmatic ads across our digital devices and TV with Sky adsmart. The personalisation of brands in how they reach us will also thrive. Coke and Marmite were ahead of the game.
Hopefully, a new breed of influencer will emerge. One which creates content that genuinely impacts on the audience, as opposed to endless product placement plugs.
Dan Deeks-Osburn, strategy director, Impero
In 2017, I’m all about the human renaissance. In our business, we spend a lot of time talking about brands, and their objectives and goals, and reaching their consumers. But what gets increasingly left out are the real, living, breathing human beings on the other side of the equation.
Brands aren’t built on super-sophisticated, weapons-grade programmatic DR onslaughts. Brands are built on human connection. From product designers to communications, to shop assistants, to customer service professionals – the brands with the highest empathy for their customer base win. But real empathy for real people is bloody hard work. It’s much easier to wax poetic about data and and programmatic platforms designed to deliver perfectly tailored communications to people who fundamentally don’t want that spam (let’s call it what is) in their lives.
Don’t believe me? See the meteoric rise in adblocker adoption (22% and rising in the UK) around the world and have all the proof you need that people won’t stand for their lives being reduced to “big data” so we can better throw ads at them.
In 2017 we need to think deeper than data. And we need to look beyond useless metrics like community engagement. What we need to do, online and off, is to take a step back, think about real people, and how you and your brand can help them out, add value, or entertain them.