Marketing Trends for 2014: Using Data to Drive Engagement and Create Personalized Experiences

As we move into 2014, there’s a big opportunity for businesses to make marketing smarter – smarter in how customer data is collected and used, smarter in how campaigns are planned and executed, and smarter in terms of driving higher revenue, satisfaction and loyalty.

It will be increasingly important for businesses to deliver personalized, real-time customer interactions across email, mobile, social, web and offline channels to continually engage customers with relevant, personalized messages that drive campaign performance and increase customer lifetime value.

Keeping your customers’ preferences at the heart of campaigns will continue to be a key trend in 2014. With access to cloud marketing platforms and personalization technologies, marketers will be able to engage more easily with their customers, and they will be able to transform customer data into actionable knowledge to create richer, more relevant experiences.

Develop engaging dialogue with customer data

In order for businesses to provide marketing that is meaningful and valuable to customers in 2014, they must first be able to answer the question – who is my customer? For example, an overall picture of frequent or loyal shoppers is important, but to take marketing to the next level, marketers must be able to take what they know about their customers and convert it into relevant and meaningful messages developed for each unique shopper.

In the coming year, we will see businesses focus even more on data-driven marketing strategies and the technologies, such as cloud marketing platforms, that will help them execute upon these strategies to develop, manage and monitor real-time, personalized campaigns and their performance. Now more than ever, marketers need to be able to easily answer questions around the performance of their campaigns. What devices are customers using? What information did they find important? Did the campaign result in the customer taking action – signing up for an event, making a purchase or visiting your store? This information coupled with customer data will enable marketers to engage customers with more relevant and personalized messages. By delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, campaign performance and customer lifetime value can be realized.

Improve customer experiences by delivering campaigns according to preference

The amount of time we have to make a good impression is getting shorter and shorter, and we are quickly learning that if online experiences aren’t delivered in a quick and easy-to-view format, consumers will navigate away from websites and delete marketing messages without a second thought. As businesses deliver better online experiences, understanding how consumers want to digest and receive marketing is becoming essential. Marketers must understand how customers view their marketing – whether it is on a mobile device, tablet or desktop – and deliver positive, more engaging experiences. For example, by the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update. As a result, we will see marketers continue to improve customer experience by ensuring marketing campaigns are compatible with all browsers and devices in 2014.

Create more personalized experiences

As visitors navigate their favorite websites, as they browse different categories and products, their unique preferences become apparent and businesses can quickly learn what colors, products, price points and sizes their customers want (and that’s just a few examples!). With personalization technology, businesses can quickly begin to connect the individual preferences and behaviors of millions of online customers and automatically deliver targeted recommendations across eCommerce websites, emails, social channels, mobile apps and other online and in-store customer contact channels. Moving forward, businesses will be able to move beyond traditional segmentation-based marketing into personalized 1:1 marketing that boosts conversion rates, customer satisfaction and loyalty.

I predict in 2014, marketers will enjoy a future filled with deeper knowledge and understanding. With valuable customer knowledge and the right technology, it is possible to create richer, more relevant, personalized customer experiences.

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