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The Future Of Digital Marketing In Six Questions

Skip Fidura, client services director at dotmailer, gives his take on the future of marketing and how he expects the industry to impact businesses.

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Skip Fidura, client services director at dotmailer, gives his take on the future of marketing and how he expects the industry to impact businesses.

Opinions

The Future Of Digital Marketing In Six Questions

Skip Fidura, client services director at dotmailer, gives his take on the future of marketing and how he expects the industry to impact businesses.

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Q. What do you think have been the most significant developments in digital marketing in the last ten years?

I think the evolution of storage and processing technology has had a huge impact on digital marketing. Ten years ago, storage and processing power were expensive and lacked the ability to hold significant amounts of data or be accessed easily. Businesses were forced to be much choosier about the kind of data they decided to keep and how they used it.

Today however, the situation is completely different. Huge amounts of data can be stored with little cost, can be accessed at the click of a button and is instantly available. The implications of this for the marketing world are huge – not only is the raw data instantly available, the information gleaned from this data is key to targeting customers effectively.

Although this presents a great opportunity, there are challenges as well. Having the correct analytic capability to convert the data to useable information is imperative. There is no point in having data if you are unable to make use of it.

The responsible use of this customer data has always been critical but because of a number of high profile failures, it is more important than ever. This of course is a great incentive for businesses to keep their data in order, making sure that the only information being stored is both interesting and really useful.

Q. What industry trends do you expect to see in the next five/ten years?

I touched on the privacy point above, but the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will impact the industry significantly. It will change how businesses communicate with existing and potential customers. For many, complying with these regulations will require a change in business practice, however these laws are no more than the hygiene factors we should have been applying anyway.

The old technique of ‘batch and blast’ in email marketing is on its way out. Not only do customers want more targeted, relevant and personal digital marketing communication, they expect it.

spam

It's time to put away the old spam canon

Customers know how much data they have given us and they expect that we will use it to provide better and more informed communication. The companies that do not embrace the data game will be left behind.

Q. How do you see these trends impacting businesses and their approaches to customer experience?

All these trends are aimed at improving customer experience. This will be the key brand differentiator before the end of the decade – customers are already coming to expect it. The amount of insight companies hold on their customers should guarantee a much better customer experience.

Previously, customer experience has only been thought of in relation to a customer making a purchase, and that purchase subsequently arriving on their doorstep. This has evolved – engagement is key and exploring every aspect of the customer journey from discovery, to sign up and purchase, is the first step in improving customer experience.

Customers do not want to be anonymous, they want products to be recommended to them and they want communication to be personalised, all of which is very easy if you maximise how you use your data.

Q. Do you expect these changes to impact any particular industries?

I do not really think it is a question of a specific industry; I think it comes down to how willing a company is to adapt and evolve to new and changing technology. Those businesses which are built on legacy systems, with legacy databases, will find it very difficult to remain at the forefront of digital marketing.

The disruptor companies are those with adaptable systems, built on innovation and which can embrace change easily.

Financial institutions are often seen as being the least adaptable, however there are several established companies taking steps to combat this; HSBC for example, has recently implemented a voice password system which provides a great customer experience. Having to remember one less password is definitely a positive!

HSBC bank

HSBC is one of a number of banks making big changes

Q. What should businesses do to stay up-to-date with these developments?

I think the most important action businesses can take before attempting to adopt any new technology is getting their house in order. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has really taken off and will continue to develop, though many companies will not be in a position to exploit new technology because they do not get the basics right.

It is also vital to analyse the technology available – there is no point in adopting something that is not relevant to your brand, or does not fit into your customer strategy. Do not chase after technology for the sake of it, it should be a complement to an already robust customer engagement plan.

Q. Do you have any advice for small businesses developing future digital marketing strategies?

Apart from getting the basics right, the key piece of advice I would give is do not be intimidated by the big brands and their big budgets! We have undertaken some comprehensive research recently which will be published at the dotmailer Summit, which indicates that many ecommerce companies are not even nailing the basics.

So keep that in mind – you can be just as effective with a smaller budget, as long as you keep it simple and do the fundamentals well.

Skip Fidura will be speaking at the inaugural dotmailer Summit on the future of marketing on 1st March 2017, at Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London.

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The Future Of Digital Marketing In Six Questions

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