I am a bit of an English nerd – and love everything to do with the written word and content marketing (obviously!). So I love reading annual prediction articles that highlight the trends that relate to areas of my expertise and passion.
Here is a summary of my key takeaways –
1. The marketing funnel as we know it is dead
Wow – this heading just drips with dread, doesn’t it? Before you start panicking, see below for Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.
So what does this mean? Well, with more and more digital marketing strategies being introduced, it means your customers may join your journey at any time. Customers no longer see an advertisement, make a phone call, utilise you for the job, and then come back to you if or when they require your product or services again. The days of that neat marketing funnel are gone.
These days, the marketing funnel is a lot more flexible. As outlined in the article, the new funnel ‘merges pre-purchase and post-purchase stages to present a complete view of the entire customer lifecycle. Multi-channel, multi-touch, multi-path customer journeys are the new marketing funnel.’
When marketing your business, you now need to own the whole journey. You need to maximise the lifetime value of loyal customers who will come back again and again. And they might not come back to you for a sale. They might come back to you to read your blog, e-book, follow your advice on LinkedIn, engage with you on Facebook, or see what you’re up to on Instagram.
Potential leads can join your journey at any time, in a random order, and they may not make it through every stage. Every customer’s situation is likely to be completely different. The article claims that ‘although the funnel is changing, and new marketing tactics are on the rise, and leads can enter at any stage – email marketing continues to be a leading channel at every stage of this new funnel.’
So make sure you’re keeping on top of your newsletters – or start one!
2. Email targeting will become turbocharged
According to Campaign Monitor, in 2018, ’email marketers will increase their use of automated emails, which are central to creating more email experiences.’
Don’t set up automated emails once and never look at them again. Make sure you’re reviewing and improving them regularly so they’re still effective and you can supercharge the impact. It’s a good idea to set yourself a reminder to review these annually.
It’s also important to look at your customer activity and aim to send automated emails at the right time and with the right content for their needs.
3. The journey to 1:1 personalisation is on
Are you personalising your emails? Do your emails address the reader like you’re talking directly to them? In most email marketing platforms, you have the capacity to personalise your communications – in both the subject line and body.
According to Campaign Monitor, ‘The ability to craft individualised experiences at scale has given email marketing huge leads when it comes to personalisation. But so far, email personalisation has been based mainly on past events like user-created profiles and preferences, purchases and life stage events.’ So we’ve been able to deal with customers based on past transactions very well, but haven’t been able to communicate with them based on what they might need in the future.
However, one of the predictions for 2018 is that personalisation will start shifting towards ‘what’s next’ versus ‘what was’. New and upcoming machine learning and data science-based features and platforms will soon give us the opportunity to harness content and data. So you can anticipate the needs of our customers and send them personalised emails that meet their demands. Awesome!
4. Marketers will own the multi-channel experience like never before
As mentioned earlier with the new marketing funnel, marketers ‘will begin to fully tackle the customer lifecycle, first with email marketing and then with other channels such as paid, social, direct mail and on-site personalisation.’
The article uses the term ‘Lifestyle Marketing’ here. I love that. Basically, we can’t just focus on acquisition and loyalty anymore. In 2018, we need to be more accountable for each customer touchpoint, from purchase to pre-delivery through to retention and win-back. We need to continue offering value every step of the way!
Let’s aim to delight the customers by always putting in 110%. Then they’ll then remain satisfied and (hopefully) keep coming back!
5. Predictive marketing metrics will become coveted by marketers
Currently, many of us are campaign-orientated and focus on measuring the success of campaigns, rather than measuring the customer lifetime value (CLV). The article states that ‘this happens for various reasons, one being that campaign metrics are easier to measure than individual customer lifetime value.’
But calculating the CLV can be difficult, as the data we collate is based on historical data of past transactions and customers. And it doesn’t anticipate the potential value of new subscribers or customers.
However, predictive marketing metrics will soon be vastly improved. This means that we’ll soon be able to see ‘which group of subscribers and their attributes will be the most profitable over a specific time period, which acquisition budget earns the highest ROI and which customer attributes assist in driving increased lifetime value.’ So we’ll soon be better informed so that we can make data-driven decisions that contribute to increased revenue.
6. A new type of combined email marketing automation is rising
This year, email and automation companies will continue to expand their features so that we can ‘expect the line between marketing automation, email marketing, and CRM to blur’. This is great news, as it will help us to market our businesses smarter.
Some examples provided:
- Visual automation workflow builders will soon be everywhere so even small market providers will be able to create the fancy drag-and-drop visual kind of event triggered emails and automations.
- Even more user-friendly marketing automation, which means that more and more automation platforms will improve their email builders or handle dynamic email content better.
- Easier content automation, which will allow us to pull content, products, and information from our websites, e-commerce or database and inject them directly into our email communications. ‘Creating targeted, personalised messages and product recommendations becomes way easier than before.’
So this year, we can expect high-value platforms and sophistication at a more accessible price than we have seen before. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? I’ll ensure to keep you all updated with these technologies as they come to light.
If you wish to read the full article by Campaign Monitor, click here. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to share in the comments section below!