There has been a great deal of buzz lately about “Future-Proofing Your Marketing.” The articles have fallen somewhere in a range between unhelpful and “intriguing.” The reason these articles have been largely unhelpful is because they have: A) Lacked any meaningful insight on what the future of marketing of will be. B) Lacked any type of actionable steps to prepare to “future proof” your marketing
So why have these articles been, by-and-largely, so unhelpful? How can you provide advice on how to future-proof against future threats most lack the vision on what the future will hold?
The future of marketing will be all about predicting and influencing consumer behavior via Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI will be used for predictive analytics. Being able to anticipate consumers’ behaviors will separate successful brands from dinosaurs. Some companies are doing this very successfully, Target comes to mind. They were on the bleeding edge of this trend more than 6 years ago, and the anecdote of their success became stuff of legend when they predicted a pregnancy. Having the ability to predict behavior will enable you to tailor offers to shape consumer behavior and choice.
Imagine having the ability to create real-time, on-demand user driven content that provided searchers and consumers with EXACTLY the content an information they are seeking. Today, creating content is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that requires content creators to come up with content ideas, conduct research, create the content, edit and optimize the content, publish the content, promote the content. Imagine if AI and marketing automation could do all of it providing exactly what the user wants…that’s the future of marketing.
As wearable and smart devices become more and more intelligent and integrated with consumers, they will provide an invaluable way for companies to track, monitor and even shape consumer behavior. Knowing an incredibly personal information about a person’s behavior will enable marketers with access unprecedented insights into buyer behavior and new and unprecedented ways to communicate with and influence consumers.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Imagine test driving a car from the comfort of your home. Not just a tour of the vehicle, but interacting with it. You drive, steer and control the car and car reacts as it really would if you were driving it. That’s the potential of Augmented and Virtual Reality. You will be able to interact with brands and products in as-to-now unimagined way.
So How Do You “Future Proof” Your Marketing?
Know Your Market
To stay ahead of your competitors, you need to know your market better than they do. Studying your customers and prospects and learning and knowing everything you can about their end-customers will keep you in the driver’s seat.
If you’re not already doing so, you’ll want to begin collecting as much data as you can. Sales data, and client behavior, product preferences, etc. You should also start collecting and analyzing website data. In the short-term you will learn new insights about your customers and prospects’ behaviors. In the long-term, with enough data and the right AI technology, you’ll be able to predict their behavior and the content that will draw them to you.
The use of marketing automation can improve your ability to outpace your competition. Used correctly, marketing automation allows you to test different approaches and tactics to determine which ones work best. The use of CRM systems will allow you to track client transactions, track client preferences and help grow your business.
No one knows precisely what the future will bring, betting closer to your clients and better understanding of their pains, preferences and buying habits will always pay dividends. We’d love to hear from you! What are your ideas of what the future of marketing might look like and how you plan to future-proof your marketing.