The acceleration of digital marketing trends and technologies is causing many brands to re-evaluate their strategies. Marketers learn that they must be proactive in their planning, lest unforeseen events disrupt their campaigns. One of the obvious catalysts for this has been the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has driven two years of digital transformation in the first two months,” said Sav Khetan, product strategy manager for CDP platform Tealium, during his session at our MarTech conference. “It drove 10 years of e-commerce growth in the first three months. But the one constant was that consumer behaviors were forced to change.
Khetan referred to McKinsey Business Insight report, which found that 75% of US consumers have tried different stores, websites or brands during the pandemic. Additionally, 65% of these consumers expect to integrate these new brands into life post-COVID.
In addition to the pandemic, brands have faced two other challenges in recent years: the loss of third-party cookies and the advent of data privacy regulations. The result? Google, Apple and other big brands announced changes to their tracking systems, paving the way for the rest of the industry to follow suit.
These connected events have forced marketers to rethink their digital strategies, finding new ways to reach customers in this privacy-driven, pandemic-aware digital future. But rather than wait for the next big disruption, marketers would be wise to start adapting their campaigns for the foreseeable future.
Here are some tips Khetan recommends for marketers to prepare their digital strategies for the future.
Integrate technology and data
Referring to a separate McKinsey studyKhetan underscored the importance that successful companies place on technology: They were making better decisions about cloud and infrastructure, they had a common source of truth for data across the organization, and they had modern technology elements giving them more agility and flexibility .
Brands should not only focus on adopting new technologies, but also on experimentation and agility. This can help ensure that marketing teams are well equipped to deal with changes in the market.
“Who knows what else will happen after this?” Khetan said. “But companies that are more agile and adaptive far outperform their peers.”
Implement identification and engagement tactics
“The market is reacting in a big way to the loss of third-party cookies,” Khetan said. “They pop up all the time with new IDs. These identifiers offer different value propositions.
Implementing new identification technology to replace third-party cookies is important, but solutions must always have the user in mind. Too often, marketers have focused on collecting data without seeking to improve the user experience. If brands use both in their strategies, they could improve their chances of collecting actionable customer data.
“Once the third-party cookie appeared, and then the programmatic and real-time bidding strategy appeared, the priority shifted to collecting and identifying data rather than experience,” said Khetan.
He added, “Over time, the money started flowing into programmatic and real-time auctions, and all of a sudden customer experience was marginalized for attribution and measurement. what we need to relax.”
Prioritize data privacy and consent
“Privacy is a matter of collection,” Khetan said. “You need to understand where you collect privacy and consent preferences from and what you do with them.”
Without privacy and consent built into their data collection strategies, marketers will inevitably lose out in this new digital landscape. Respecting privacy rules can help increase consumer trust, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Brands also need to provide them with personalized experiences.
“People are treating this privacy collection like a checkbox and they’ve forgotten about customer experience and that’s what you need to reverse,” Khetan said.
Invest in people and processes
“The most successful companies that have outperformed all of their peers invest heavily in their people – in acquiring new roles and new skills and partnerships,” Khetan said.
He added: “Your teams have to do things they’ve never done before in ways they’ve never done before.”
The multitude of new digital trends, privacy regulations and technologies require new skills and new people. They will be responsible for the evolution of the marketers’ digital strategy.
Khetan also emphasized the need to invest in team members: “If all your strategies have changed, how can you expect to do the same things and get results with these new strategies? You need to help your teams evolve into this new world.