2016 Trends: How Brands Should Leverage Customer Data



Among the plethora of future-gazing blogs currently circulating the marketing press, two particular articles from Marketing Week caught my eye for their take on how data usage by brands will/should evolve over the next 12 months.
Here are some thoughts on the two articles, together with some ideas on how to tackle the customer data challenge in 2016…
Stand by for better advertising, apparently…
I couldn’t help but notice that the data section of the first article focused entirely on advertising. Sky and Bloomberg are developing better advertising platforms – a truly exciting and viable move in the ad space. But as someone who works in marketing not advertising, I wondered why other uses of connected data were not explored.
Have we now reached the limits of how we can use data across marketing channels? Are all our data silos finally seamlessly connected?
The customer experience takes place beyond acquisition, and data should be used more intelligently across the entire marketing mix, right from the first interaction through to post-sale and loyalty initiatives.
The true benefit of joining data silos together is not so brands can “get a message out there” (cough, spam!, cough), it should be viewed as a step on the path to customer centric marketing – providing relevant messages and communications according to what the customer says they want, in a continuous communication.
‘Integration’ is the new hot topic
The second article, from a favourite of mine – Mark Ritson – predicted that digital marketing will die and integrated marketing will be the focus.
A follow-on from the single customer view, marketing now needs to be joined up more than ever. Marketers have conquered every conceivable messaging platform, the challenge now is to ensure what the brand says is consistent across each of them. The consumer operates freely across multiple channels, so the brand should reciprocate and respond.
Too often, the proposed solution to integrated marketing is to put everything under one roof – a central environment of marketing technology to broadcast a single message. But multiple technologies or channels are not the problem – marketers need to factor in the fact that channels and technologies will continue to increase, and that that is ok. Focusing on the individual requires a focus on the data, not the channels. Get the data right, and you stand a far better chance of communicating consistently with your audience.
Furthermore, you will have a richer set of information to power a more relevant discussion, personalised to every visitor.
Mark Ritson is spot on. It will be interesting to see how brands interpret the message.
This post was written by Martin Wallace.

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