As we look forward to a year positioned to be one of the most dynamic on record for boomer marketing, I have compiled a few insights into what we feel will be the biggest changes to expect in 2016. These insights will help you think about your marketing in a new way, or at least help you to prepare for the changes that will impact your marketing in 2016.
Insight One: Channels will find their value, or die.
Taking a line from CES and the commentary around it this year, it usually takes 5-7 years for a product to find its market. New products are launched, from fitbits to robotics, all requiring time for them to reach maturity in the marketplace. The same concept exists in digital marketing. This year will be the beginning of the peak for the channels that have emerged in the past few years to find their real value in the mature market. Its time for all marketers to take a knife to the line items that are not working and make a push on the channels that are showing results. Consumer Lifetime Value (CLTV) will emerge as the primary metric in leadership circles, not likes or CTR (clickthrough rate).
Insight Two: The ‘Family Caregiver’ will shift into prominence.
Boomer marketers, always have two primary audiences when it comes to marketing campaigns; the mature parent and the adult child (often acting as the family caregiver). This year, beyond more than any in the past, we will see the family caregiver emerge as a primary target in marketing campaigns because of the role they are playing in influencing buying decisions. Marketers will need to bridge the gap between the user experiences and sales experience to serve the real buyer. As the family caregiver comes into prominence, our digital assets need to serve this user in the midst of the buyer journey specific to their needs.
Insight Three: Buyer Journey becomes an organization-wide concept.
No longer will terms like persona and buyer journey be relinquished to the marketing department. Everyone in the organization, from sales to customer service, will understand the buyer journey and the role their department plays in that journey. Five years after Zappo’s CEO Tony Hirsh said “customer service is the new marketing,” this is the year organizations beyond the marketing department will take the mantra seriously and organizations will change how they are organized to improve the customer experience. We’d go even further to say that companies will become marketing centric, embracing the buyer journey as language of the culture.
Insight Four: The key market advantage is culture.
The highway to innovation is going to be marked by companies who embrace culture as their competitive advantage. There will be dramatic changes in the sales, marketing, customer service and production roles as culture around the buyer journey develops into the pulse of the organization. Companies who are prepared to address culture to streamline innovation, product development and delivery, will be the winners in 2016.
Insight Five: Marketers double-down on digital audience segments based on customer experience.
Digital marketing will earn a new place of prominence in the boardroom. It will evolve into a strategic lever in the organizational growth plan because it is the means of finding new segments of opportunity as well as the channel for communicating with very discrete segments of this audience efficiently. The most significant shift in marketing will be in how (and who) marketers target. As digital marketing budgets grow bigger this year, they will be forced to deliver both scale and relevancy. In the past, when marketers looked for scale, they turned to TV and direct marketing, but with the wide scale adoption of targeting platforms that reach discrete audiences in scale in Google and Facebook (among others), marketers will begin to target specific segments of customers (not just digital customers) online and in scale. They will target based on where they are in the buyer journey, keywords, and other pieces of data that provide deeper relevance than just age and income. This will make them much more effective than mere demographic and psychographic targeting. And lastly, customer experience becomes a workbench for innovation as all departments focus their capital on owning a part of the customer journey and optimizing the experience for the customer.
Are you interested in hearing how some of these items might impact your business, or have something to comment on? I’d love to hear what you feel is going to be the focus of this year.