Ten Themes Impacting Marketing in 2015 and Beyond

The following are the consumer and marketer behavior, technology, data and business themes that mCordis’ believes will be a priority for marketers in 2015 and beyond. These themes are complex, with a number of inter-related sub-themes. We believe each theme will take center stage at some point in the 2015 marketing dialog, although the dialog around these themes will certainly not be resolved in 2015. We think it’s important that marketers, both at the corporate and individual level, start thinking about these themes now. Marketers must work towards understanding them and towards developing and honing the capabilities (people/skills, processes, technologies, budgets) needed to adopt them.

Developing expertise around these themes will most surely set marketers up for long-term success and if combined in a unique way can become the basis for competitive advantage. 

mCordis’ ten themes for marketing in 2015 are:

  1. Digital-Social-Mobile Capabilities (DSM) Become a Strategic Imperative
  2. Marketing Automation
  3. Mainstreaming of Shopper Marketing
  4. Monitoring, Analytics, Tracking and Data (MAT-D)
  5. Persona Marketing
  6. Brands as Platform
  7. Connected Living
  8. Privacy
  9. Experience Marketing
  10. Education Becomes a Strategic Imperative

1. Digital-Social-Mobile (DSM) Capabilities Become a Strategic Imperative

Marketers have talked about the convergence of digital, social and mobile (DSM) marketing for the last decade or more, but going into 2015 talk will move to action as more makretes execute cross-digital channel initiatives. There’s no denying that DSM solutions have irrevocably changed consumer behavior. Today, more than 50% percent of an individual’s time is spent with DSM media and channels and over 90% of media consumption occurs across a digital displays (including TV). Thirty-six percent (36%) percent of retail sales, or $1.5 trillion, is influenced by DSM and 86% of people use mobile to influence their shopping decisions. Individuals (aka shoppers and consumers) are digital and brands must follow. Developing and aligning DSM capabilities (people, processes, technologies, strategies and budgets) will be a c-suite imperative across nearly every industry in 2015 and beyond.2. Marketing Automation

In the face of consumer behavioral change, channel fragmentation, the adoption of data, and the exponential growth of relevant technology, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is become the Chief Technologies Marketing Officer (CTMO) and or Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCEO). By 2016 more IT will be bought by marketers than by IT professionals. Marketing is complex; so much so, that it requires increasing automation to keep up with the pace of change. Marketers will use marketing automation to create efficiency, drive relevance, capture date and generate insight to inform decisions, reduce expense and increase revenues. Key sub-themes of marketing automation in 2015 include:

  • Programmatic Advertising – due to improved targeting capabilities, marketers will begin to buy audiences and specific “moments”, not just media. In this sense, the majority of advertising placement will be done by algorithms, not humans. Marketers will spend 2015 sifting through data to find ways to refine and optimize their algorithms. Industry will begin to move from the age of “Mad Men” to the age “Math Men”/”Math People.”
  • Cross-Platform, Micro-Moment, Messaging – automated cross-platform messaging streams to engage individuals throughout their journey will come in to vogue in 2015. Email, SMS, MMS, Apple passes, push notifications and the like, will be linked together to engage consumers. Each messaging type will be leverage at the appropriate time, both by the marketer and individual, with the length of message varying by context (from micro-blogging to full-length video) in order to provide unique and relevant individual engagement moments that aggregate into a long-term dialog between the marketer and the individual.
  • Relevance & Personalization, according to eConsultancy, roughly 20% of marketers have an automated personalization strategy for marketing, though most are managing their relevancy and contextual personalization efforts manually. Personalization will continue to be discussed, but it will remain a manual process through 2015.

The transition to marketing automation won’t happen overnight. Specialty trading desks and “premium networks” will continue to flourish until the algorithms, and regulatory policies overseeing media buying, are fully ironed out. Personalization, persona marketing and data solutions will need to integrate, and more. Marketers will need to be re-trained for the new skills required to succeed. The marketing automation theme will take years to mature.  

3. Mainstreaming of Shopper Marketing

The lines between traditional marketing and shopper marketing are blurring, and shopper marketing will become mainstream in 2015 and beyond. Many marketers will realize the importance of distinguishing between the state of buying (a.k.a. shopping by shoppers) and the state of consumption (a.k.a. consuming by consumers). The industry will start distinguishing between these two states in all aspects of marketing.4. Monitoring, Analytics, Tracking and Data (MAT-D)

Marketing is becoming a data science. Look for the rise of the Chief Marketing Technologies Officer, the Marketing Data Scientist, the data hub and more. Marketers will increasingly integrate monitoring, analytics, tracking and data (MAT-D) solutions to listen to and for, and distinguish between, shopper and consumer activities. New monitoring and tracking tools will measure shopper and consumer exposure to marketing prior to action upstream in the customer journey (pre-tail). They’ll measure actions at the “moment of truth” in the engagement process (re-tail), and post engagement action (post-tail). Marketers will begin to distinguish and attribute actions in each stage to hone in on those activities that lead to sales and advocates, to help them inform, educate and entertain the consumer. An important advancement in MAT-D in 2015 will be the recognition that marketer and individual (aka shopper, consumer) language does not often align. For example, in the purchase funnel/customer journey marketers talk about awareness, while shoppers talk about finding and trying. Marketers in 2015 should begin to align and market with and manage to their target customer’s language, not their own.

5. Persona Marketing

The concept of persona marketing will become more widely accepted in 2015. Marketers will recognize the need combine traditional segmentation marketing with consumer behavior marketing, to create dynamic profiles of consumers and market to these profiles. Future marketing profiles will include a wide range of data, including demographic, psychographic, behavioral, descriptive and identifiers data. In 2015 the majority of marketers will talk about persona marketing, few will do it, and even less will do it well. Effective persona marketing will require advances in marketing automation, shopper marketing, MAT-D, privacy and education.

6. Brands as platform

Brands, all brands—CPG restaurants, auto, financial services, retail, etc.—will recognize that the sum of their parts is greater than the whole. They will recognize that they can become platforms, meaning that they will recognize that they can extend their reach and empower other companies and developers to build on the brand’s capabilities (content, insights, services, physical and digital touch-points—their platform). This theme will be characterized as collaborative “open innovation” brand strategy. Brand as platform will become the newest mantra for marketing growth in 2015. It will be a mantra for efficiency (cost savings) and monetization (revenue generation). Companies that effectively embrace the brand as platform strategy can begin to own the conversation around their area of expretise with shoppers, consumers, partners and the industry as a whole. This is not a simple theme. It will require c-suite commitment, the breaking down of corporate silos, investments in content, technology, education, cultural change, innovation budget allocations  and time for the majority of companies to prepare and take advtange of it.

7. Connected Living

The Internet of Everything will continue to enter into mainstream consciousness. All media, all devices, all surfaces will become connected, measurable and interactive (think sensors, cemeras, databases and augmented reality). In fact, it is estimated that there will be somewhere between 50~100 billion connected devices in the market by 2020, which will generate $19 trillion in global economic net value over the next 10 years. Consumers will recognize that nearly every element of their lives–home, car, work, bodies are all connected and that these connections are bringing significant benefit to their lives. At the same time though, these connections may also bring numerous unforeseen risks. This theme will take many years to play out, but 2015 will bring it into the mainstream dialog.

8. Privacy

In the face of new data breaches, identify theft, public, government, commercial (retail and employment) and personal privacy intrusions, lawsuits that leverage personal data derived from connected devices to both exonerate and incriminate, will take center stage (see Personal data: A vehicle for incrimination and exonderation). In 2015, however, the conversation of data will move beyond solely being focussed on protection and the themes of knowledge, management and value will be added to the dialog. Every economic actor (individuals, organizations, governments) will look to know, protect, manage and value data. At some level we’ll all become subordinate to data and the algorithms that leverage them. 2015 is just a stepping-stone in our long-term transformation from a information-driven to connected-data driven life. In 2015 the sub-themes of privacy will include:

  • Security, systems, processes and tools for ensuring data is only accessed by approved parties and not mis-used
  • Preference centers, systems to allow data actors to establish and manage preferences towards data assocated to them and how it is to be used and by whom
  • Customer relationship management, solutions that empower organizations  to manage their relationships with individuals
  • Vendor relationship management, solutions that empower individuals to manage their relationship with organizations/the industry
  • Personal data becomes an asset, industry recognizes that personal data has value, that it is an asset and can and must be managed and accounted for accordingly
  • Personal data as a currency, once personal data is a recognized asset, it may then be valued and used as an equitable currency to fascilitate exchange
  • Personal data stores, solutions that empower individuals to broker their information through the personal data exchange marketplace (measured at $156 Billion 2012 alone)

9. Experience Marketing

In 2015 quality products and services will be table stakes, they will be expected and individuals will have the chance to fulfill their demand from countless organizations. Individuals will expect the opportunity to co-create with  organizations and participate in personalized experiences as they seek to be informed, educated and enterained. Marketers, especially commodity retailers like grocery, will recognize the imperative of re-configuring their offerings and gear toward offering unique, personalized experiences, not simple a shelve of products that can be replaced by the online-same day solutions made possible, at scale, by Target, Walmart, Google, Amazon and Uber. Organizational differentiation will emerge through the unique combination of different data, automation, platform, pricing, conent, conversation and particpation organizational attributes.

10. Education becomes a Strategic Imperative

Education will become a strategic imperative for businesses across all sectors. The vast majority of employees today, and the incoming workforce, is not prepared to be successful in the connected-data era. The silo walls are crumbling, they must come down. In the connected era, employees need to have a balanced understanding of their specific specialization relative to the entire organization and the combined impact the organization has on the customer experience. Employees and leaders must be educated to not just survive but also to thrive for today and for tomorrow. They must be equipped with the knowledge and experience to effectively think and respond. Employers will see the need to invest in education to meet the demands of their business, to retain their workshop (see the mCordis Professional Qualification in Mobile Marketing, a key soltuion towards achieving marketing excelence).

Wrapping up the Ten Themes

These ten themes will continue to evolve through 2015 and beyond. mCordis is excited about contributing to the dialog and helping marketers strategically embrace them so that they may inform, educate, entertain and ultimately fulfill the needs of the individuals they serve.

Managing Partner at Identity Praxis, Inc. | Website | + posts

Michael Becker is an intentionally recognized identity & personal information management solutions strategic advisor, speaker, entrepreneur, and academic. He advises companies on personal information economy business strategy, product development, business development, and sales & marketing strategies. He also represents them at leading trade groups, including the Mobile Ecosystem Forum. Michael is an advisor to Assurant, Predii, Privowny, and Phoji. He is the co-author of Mobile Marketing for Dummies and a number of other books and articles related to mobile marketing, identity, and personal information management. He is on the faculty of marketing of the Association of National Advertisers and National University. A serial entrepreneur, Michael founded Identity Praxis, co-founded mCordis and The Connected Marketer Institute, was a founding member of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), and was on the MMA board of directors for ten years and was MMA’s North American Managing Director for three years. In 2004, Michael co-founded iLoop Mobile, a leading messaging solutions provider. In 2014, Michael was awarded the 2014 Marketing EDGE Edward Mayer Education Leadership Award for his commitment to marketing education.

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