It’s that time of the year again!
The holiday season is upon us, whether you like it or not. That means frantic last minute shopping for friends and family, bumper-to-bumper traffic when it ain’t rush hour, and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” playing in just about virtually every department store (no disrespect to Miss Carey, her Christmas album was, and still is brilliant).
But this time of the year also encourages the act of gift-giving, fosters friendships, embraces spirituality, and has the best parties. Not to mention all the Christmas food that never fails to catch up with you in January… especially around the waist.
Over at Spiralytics HQ, we’ve been thinking about how far we’ve come since the beginning of the year and what we’ve learned that has make us better as marketers. We grew our client base by almost 50% this year, which gave us the opportunity to operate in a range of consumer and B2B industries. Here are some of our biggest takeaways from 2017:
Biggest Takeaways from 2017
AI and automation are here to stay
From more sophisticated analytics, to increasingly complex automation, technology is constantly facilitating newer, better ways for us to reach and engage with our audiences.
In 2017, technology facilitated the emergence of many new AI-powered tools and platforms. One of the most prominent being machine-mediated customer conversations (chatbots). As marketers strive towards delivering real-time communication that’s scalable and more customer-centric, chatbots have helped them rise to the challenge.
Conversational marketing is now a well-adopted practice in the business world, and it’s already proven to be an effective tactic to drive sales conversions. What was once considered a highly-technical strategy reserved for early-adopters has now become a new industry standard.
Marketing automation has also played a big part in the evolution of the industry this year. New Automation tools are optimizing the ways marketers manage customer communications, resulting in an overall increase in the quality of message personalization and lead nurturing. This means that the marketing landscape is becoming more competitive, and brands need to be more innovative to stand out from the clutter.
Bottom line, AI and automation aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s a good idea for businesses to use them to their advantage. Your competitors are using them, and you should be jumping on the bandwagon to even the playing field.
The issue of data privacy and security
Although it’s true that the rise of big data has significantly increased our marketing capabilities, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Data privacy and security, for instance, are rising causes of concern for businesses and consumers alike. This becomes obvious when you consider how many data points the average online user generates on a daily basis.
The impact of data breaches is potentially huge for consumers because information leaks can potentially affect their personal relationships, professional image, or even worse, their legal liability. Considering the number of major data breaches that have occured in the past year, information leakage is a serious matter that needs to be addressed.
On top of that, some companies have entire business models that revolve around the collection of data. These companies collect and sell data to third parties, sometimes even without the express consent of their subjects, which creates entirely new avenues for concern.
Moving forward, brands need to actively demonstrate accountability and transparency when using customer data. Because of issues like loss of anonymity, companies now have a greater obligation to protect and disclose personal information that they use, whether it be for their personal use or for sale.
Keep on eye on what data-rich companies like Facebook do over the next year. The implications for brands and advertising could be huge.
Long live the customer experience
If you work in the marketing industry, you probably already know Customer Experience (CX) is one of the hottest topics around. Why? Well, because there’s a whole lot of evidence suggesting that CX not only leads to better customer satisfaction, but also to increased sales and reduced operating costs.
The rise of customer experience management has brought about a strong focus-shift towards addressing the overall customer experience in a holistic way. And one of the best ways to improve the overall experience is to increase message relevance through personalization.
Customers are becoming increasingly impatient towards mass-promotions strategies that don’t speak to their personal interests or behaviors. So, the pressure is on brands to develop personalized campaigns that add value to their customer journey. This requires a comprehensive understanding of your target market and how they buy/use your product.
Developing a seamless omnichannel experience has become an incredibly important requirement for businesses. Now that media consumption is split across a range of platforms, maintaining consistent communications across the board is becoming increasingly difficult. But for brands who are able to leverage technology and improve context, they’ll be gaining a competitive advantage by offering what the customer wants, when the customer wants it.
But enough about marketing… Let’s talk Christmas!
Christmas at Spiralytics
This time of the year tends to bring out the inner party animal in many of us. Most people seem to have an innate desire to celebrate as the year comes to a close. So, when it was time to hold our annual office Christmas party this year, we gladly indulged…
We still maintained an air of productivity with our final All-Hands meeting for the year,
And since it’s the season of giving, we felt a raffle was in order.
But good times were always the priority.
Now, onto 2018
As we enter the new year, we remember how we got here, and what we learned along the way. It’s an exciting time for us, as we continue to discover new ways to reach and engage with your brand’s audiences. It’s been a fantastic year of learning, and we’re totally psyched for you to see what we’ve got in store for 2018.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Spiralytics Team!