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What you need to know now about the future of digital marketing

What you need to know now about the future of digital marketing

A recent industry forecast by global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company aptly points out that “Digital marketing is about to reach more challenging territory”.  The basis for this assertion is not surprising. Consumers are in power. Our current digital age places them squarely in the driver’s seat when it comes to how they receive marketing messages. Taking that a step further, we are barreling toward a place where consumers are not only determining “how” messages are received, but “what” messages they’ll receive. We’re talking about on-demand marketing that in the words of McKinsey and Company’s London director, Peter Dahlström, “cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery.”

As digital technology advances, and smarter, more sophisticated devices are at the finger tips of the average consumer, McKinsey and Company predicts four areas of demand that marketers will need to satisfy:

Now:   Consumers will want to interact anywhere at any time.

Can I: They will want to do truly new things as disparate kinds of information (from financial accounts to data on physical activity) are deployed more effectively in ways that create value for them.

For me:  They will expect all data stored about them to be targeted precisely to their needs or used to personalize what they experience.

Simply: They will expect all interactions to be easy.

To paint a picture of what this might look like, imagine a consumer purchases a monitoring device from a sporting goods store to help her keep track of miles ran and calories burned. She then is able to tap her device to her friend’s and access her friend’s information for data comparison and maybe a little friendly competition.  Now imagine that device shows her an offer for a free sports drink at the convenient store that’s near the end of her run route. That offer is redeemed when she taps it in the store. An additional offer might encourage her to share the link along with a pic of her with the sports drink to her Facebook page; the link would provide a free drink to any of her Facebook friends who clicked on it.

You can see in this rough illustration how the “Now”, the “Can I”, the “For me,” and the “Simple” demands are all met with highly-relevant messages that are seamlessly interwoven into the complete experience without the consumer having to take in or do any more or any less than she wants. Her personal choices are what drive the messaging she receives.

The ramifications of this on-demand marketing extend far beyond goals and  initiatives set forth by CMOs. This level of consumer engagement requires an intense level of collaboration across all fronts. Marketing and all of its supporting disciplines, must integrate its work with CRM functions of the organizations, CRM functions must coordinate with e-commerce, e-commerce with financial and legal and analytics — all areas that historically, have not necessarily had to maintain symbiotic relationships. In fact, traditional departmental roles and functions may need to be redefined altogether. And while there may be some time before entities outside of marketing have to prepare for the digital consumer at this level, for marketers this work starts right now.

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She is the founder & CEO of Zen Media. She has been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Forbes, Businessweek, and Inc have all recognized her as one of the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs in the field of marketing. Shama has built a global audience and is known for helping brands succeed in the digital age. She is a bestselling author, an international keynote speaker, and has been named one of LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Marketing for four years in a row. Learn More


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