Growth marketing and trends to watch20th May 2021
Growing and establishing a brand in the current climate is extremely competitive, especially with the rise of entrepreneurship and more people adopting remote freelance lifestyle choices post-covid. This comes at a time when the marketing industry has already been innovating and evolving at a faster pace than ever before with the increased sophistication of marketing automation tools available. The UK has also recently announced that we are heading towards a digital skills gap disaster and this effect has already been noticed with an exponential increase in digital enquiries from businesses needing to fill their own skills gap shortages.
Here’s my take on how the digital advertising industry is changing, with some of my current key areas of interest and a little on how my own job as Head of Digital, is evolving…
1.More focus on customers and personalisation
It goes without saying that the bread and butter behind any successful marketing campaign – the fundamentals – will forever stay the same and are only going to become more important as time progresses. These are understanding who your customers are; the problems your product or service solves for them; and how to effectively communicate with them. The better we understand customers, the more effective our marketing campaigns will be. Clever chatbots and onsite customer surveys are going to continue to be an increased trend into 2021 to gather as much audience / customer profile insight as possible.
2. Less about algorithms, more creative
The greatest short term negative threat for we digital marketers is the implications of stringent GDPRm and Apple’s IDFA tracking. As a result, we are going to have increasingly less access to individual user data. I believe the ultimate outcome of this will actually be positive for all, forcing us to think far more strategically and creatively on how we learn about and engage with our target customers. Perhaps even by talking to them!
One insight I see is that we will have to be much more transparent about what data we collect and how we use it, not just to comply with GDPR but also how we better treat customers as humans!
3. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
In the digital marketing world, ML and AI is now embedded into almost every tool we use. Marketers are rapidly accelerating the ways in which they incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into the customer acquisition processes, from optimisation of an ad campaign to cross-channel attribution modelling at speed. Now there are millions of variables helping us to target more precisely than humans could ever possibly process.
Soon we will only need to supply the copy and creative, and the tools will handle everything else for us. Some of our best-performing ad campaigns have been when we don’t specify any audience targeting at all. The future may even include auto-generation of suggested copy/creative. This is already happening with certain Google products like Google Display and Dynamic paid search and shopping ads.
4. Programmatic TV advertising:
Smaller businesses have often considered television advertising to be way beyond their reach due to budget. Therefore, until recently, they’ve been unable to reach audiences at scale and geotargeted. Soon we will be able to buy placements in real-time auctions across networks and will be able to get really granular with audience targeting based on the location, channel, type of shows, interests, time of day etc.
This is already happening with SkyAdsmart, with whom we are actively working with to launch in the Channel Islands soon. Large gambling firms in the UK are already taking advantage of this technology. Their ads are aired in the breaks between football games, and share live odds on screen through a live API feed linking directly into Sky to serve an ad on your adbox in realtime! Smaller firms will be able to take advantage of lower cost TV advertising placements through defining smaller audiences they wish to reach in auction.
5. Digital tabloids
With the abandonment of cookies, the reduction of targeting capabilities, and the rise of tabloids going digital during lockdown, quality online news placements are going to be increasingly valuable channels to target key topics/interests and reach key audiences. Online tabloids will have incredible amounts of existing data around their readership audiences which can be tapped into and targeted via highly digital ads within select articles and placements.
6. Experimentation (Test and Learn)
Regardless of whether you’re a startup or a well-established business, there is always room to embrace experimentation and testing + learning. With all the data in the world, you can’t predict peoples behaviour 100% of the time and as such, we can merely make educated guesses. We need to apply a scientific and rapid hypothesis approach to testing out ideas and seeing what happens first-hand. It could be as simple as changing the colour of a call to action button on a webpage, testing an A/B split landing page or changing out a cat with a dog on a facebook ad. You may notice some subtle tweaks and changes to our own website recently.
Recently, I have found my role is focusing more on how I become a growth marketing partner to our clients, offering cost-effective digital solutions to improve our clients’ performance. We have massively pivoted with our agency offering towards building out strategic digital growth partnerships with our clients, either working as a cost-effective extension of in house teams or as a complete full-service agency working with some exciting new startups in alignment with longer-term business growth objectives in mind. Sometimes we do this even knowing that it may mean less for us in the shorter term but with the confidence we’ll deliver on plans, making it beneficial for all parties involved (including the customer experience).
Since I started at Oi, I have spent particular time and attention looking at digital technologies’ role in customer relationships across our clients. I’ve been looking deep into analytics and identifying how we solve growth challenges at all stages of the customer journey. As technology changes so too does the technology we use and the skills we bring to the table.
Don’t be surprised if we start helping with your sales or customer communication processes too. Don’t be surprised when we come to the table with new technology and ideas!
Change and brand-new thinking is our job!