7 Ways Tech Will Make 2014 a Big Year for Marketers

Marketers will be faced with two choices as 2014 dawns: continue to run marketing for marketers and push out generic promotional messages, or run marketing for customers and deliver tailored content to them. That’s the resounding theme of a series of predictions by the team at marketing software provider Silverpop. Seven trends they predict are:

1. Browse abandonment retargeting.
  Direct marketers have realized off-the-charts conversion rates from shoppers who failed to push the buy buttons on their digital shopping carts. In 2014,these marketers will move the tactic up the funnel and retarget those who’ve given products loving looks. Silverpop notes that this tactic requires companies to insert tracking codes on Web pages that integrate with their e-commerce and email platforms.

2. E-commerce acquisition in bricks-and-mortar stores. The old “drop your name in a fishbowl and get a birthday discount” store promo will get digitized. Mobile and POS technologies have evolved to the point that opting customers into loyalty and email programs in-store has become simple. Silverpop VP of Industry Relations Loren McDonald points out that a chain with 1,000 stores that captures five opt-ins per store per day finds itself with 2 million new subscribers at year’s end.

3. Taking action on actionable data.
While shoppers abandon carts, marketers may begin abandoning data warehouses in 2014 and focusing on stockpiling data that turns quickly into revenue. “To respond to customer and prospect behaviors, you’ve got to have fabulous data stored in your marketing platform, not in a data warehouse,” says Silverpop Product Strategist Ellen Valentine. She counsels using surveys or popovers to gather “explicit data,” cross-channel tracking, and turning to third-party providers.

4. Personalized websites proliferate. With tech solutions for personalizing websites to individual prospects growing faster and cheaper, the practice is no longer the sole domain of the Amazons and Netflix’s of the world. The key for marketers will be marrying their content management systems with their marketing platforms to make delivery of dynamic Web content quick and seamless.

5. One-to-one digital marketing arrives in physical stores. The iBeacon functionality of Apple’s iOS7 operating system is a game-changer for retailers. A customer with an iPhone4S or later model with a chain’s app is identified upon entering a store. Beacons in-store exchange data with the phone, ID the users, and appeal to them in stride: “Welcome, Mrs. Lewis. Here’s a deal for Pampers.” Thus, real-time behavioral targeting comes to brick-and-mortar stores. “Marketers can send sales alerts based on external data like weather changes, display personalized product information, and drive email opt-ins,” says Silverpop Product Strategist Dave Walters.

6. Data-driven intelligence for the common marketer. Available and affordable data and Saas platforms to drive it will put actionable customer intelligence in the hands of even the most modest operations. At the bare minimum, any customer-facing marketer should have the ability to mine purchase history data to empower customer lifecycle tactics.

7. No excuses for poor customer experience. Taking stock of all of the above leaves no leeway for not providing the excellent customer experience today’s consumer expects. “Once technology helps you capture these cross-channel, cross-device customer behaviors,” says  Silverpop VP of Product Develepment Bryan Brown, “it’s up to marketers to weave an engaging story.”

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