The SaaS start-up Nexoya presents the most important trends for digital marketing based on its experience in marketing analytics.
- The market and consumers are behaving more and more dynamically. Rigid marketing plans and budgets that are valid for the whole year are obsolete. Many marketing teams will switch to an agile mode. The switch to an agile form of collaboration is therefore on the agenda.
- Marketing managers will deal with the topic of automation based on artificial intelligence. Because digital marketing has long been able to fall back on more than analyzes and predictions to optimize campaigns and budgets: 2021 will be the year of clear recommendations for action through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The use of AI must go hand in hand with data protection and transparency.
Trend 1: Data strategy for consent and preference management
Data is becoming more and more important. Only they make it possible to address people in a personalized way. According to Gartner, 90 percent of online advertisers want to use marketing personalization. Personalization is the prerequisite for a convincing user experience – and this is considered the key to success in marketing. But marketers will find themselves in a discrepancy because their options for action arise in the area of tension between data hype and the discussion about more data protection. Trend-setting changes are imminent: What began with the GDPR is to be supplemented by the ePrivacy Regulation specifically for dealing with cookies. This affects, for example, the storage of personal data or the tracking of online behavior. According to Smart, HQ86 percent of consumers say they are concerned about the privacy of their data. Against this background, marketing departments will pay significantly more attention to consent and preference management. The topic of ethics in dealing with customer data is also on the agenda in 2021.
«We recommend marketing managers to develop a marketing data strategy for their company at an early stage. How does the brand want to position itself as a whole, taking into account data ethics and privacy? For example, we can imagine that a considerable number of companies will rely on completely anonymized data processing and thus develop a unique selling point – as Apple has recently been doing, for example. Companies can rely on responsible and transparent data processing by disclosing to the customer where they use which data. That can become a trend that is becoming more and more relevant for end customers, ”says Manuel Dietrich, co-founder and CEO of the start-up Nexoya.
Trend 2: Agile management strategy for continuous optimization
Marketing budgets and plans that are set in stone for the whole year have had their day. Market conditions and consumer behavior are changing faster and faster, and competition in digital marketing is increasing. As a result, marketing teams are realigning their channels at ever shorter intervals, adapting their plans flexibly and sometimes redistributing the budget on a weekly basis. Planning, managing and optimizing the marketing channels is therefore becoming more and more agile: Many marketing managers will switch to an agile mode in which they continuously question, update and coordinate the key figures.
“At nexoya, we are seeing more and more customers questioning their strict always-on or flight campaigns and switching to more agile and shorter planning cycles. The campaigns run in waves for one to two quarters, are constantly evaluated, measured and adjusted. After each wave there is a determination of the position – what worked, what didn’t and how do we want to optimize the next wave, ”explains Manuel Dietrich.
Continuous optimization with an agile management approach is therefore another central topic that marketing should deal with in the coming year. Anyone who develops an agile marketing management strategy is also faced with the question of how to lead teams and agencies in an agile manner and how to adapt their budgets to the new form of work.
Trend 3: Artificial intelligence automates marketing
Artificial intelligence will fundamentally change marketing. Even today, 60 percent of companies rely on AI for their daily decision-making. And in 37 percent of the marketing teams, AI algorithms are already making daily work easier – from generating content to intelligent search. According to Gartner calculations, this is an increase of 270 percent over the past four years.
“In our opinion, many marketing departments will take the decisive step away from prediction, i.e. predictions, towards prescription, i.e. clear recommendations for action, for AI-based automation in 2021”, says Manuel Dietrich. The AI-based automation enables marketing teams to optimize cross-channel campaigns: The AI aggregates and processes large amounts of data from various channels and reveals findings and relationships that improve the return on investment. With AI-based predictions, the algorithm calculates the optimal alignment of the individual budgets. “In this way, campaigns can be continuously optimized and costs can be reduced by up to 30 percent,” says the Nexoya co-founder.
In contrast to the simple automation of processes, AI algorithms learn about different patterns and continuously improve their results. Marketing managers can prepare for this change by answering the following questions for their department or team at an early stage: What can my team meaningfully automate work processes with the help of AI? And where can we achieve a real return on advertising spend (ROAS) within a short period of time with AI?
AI and data protection are not a contradiction in terms
Marketing managers who use automation based on AI and machine learning do not necessarily come into conflict with the ePrivacy Regulation. When choosing a provider, it is crucial to ensure that only non-personalized data is collected and processed. For personalized and not completely anonymized analysis, companies have to rely on providers in the field of marketing analytics who do not store customer data.
“This is the case, for example, with our ‘Nexoya Marketing Analytics’ solution. We optimize marketing campaigns based on machine learning and artificial intelligence. We only use non-personalized data that is stored in certified Swiss data centers, ”explains Manuel Dietrich.
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