The martech landscape is always evolving and growing—now with over 5,000 tech providers in the space. Year after year, along with this growth, comes a list of industry buzzwords that pop up along the way, sometimes adding confusion and complexity to an already complicated landscape. They can make it harder for marketers to understand what they truly need to add to their marketing stacks and strategies, and which are simply a trending topic or tool of the moment.
Below are a few highly talked about terms in the B2C marketing world and some tips to better understand what the buzz is all about, which ones might burn out in 2019, and what’s most important headed into the new year.
1. Customer Data Platform
CDPs: One of the biggest buzzwords on the block might also be the most general and confusing. Forrester defines a CDP as a solution that “centralizes customer data from multiple sources and makes it available to systems of insight and engagement.” By this definition, pretty much any solution that ingests customer data in some way could be considered a CDP. The intention of a customer data platform is to unify the data into a single customer profile, to be accessible for use with other systems in your marketing stack.
The biggest reason there’s buzz is that you’re left wondering—do I need one? Possibly, if you’re looking for a solution to ingest and output data to your other platforms, without making it highly actionable. For many marketers, especially enterprise, it’s more important to build a team of vendors and solutions that have a clear purpose for your brand, and that make your data actionable, automated, and easy to execute on.
The bottom line: Managing and activating customer data is hard from a marketing perspective, and it’ll get that much harder in 2019 as it becomes more complex no matter the size of your business. That’s why a more focused technology that tackles this could be more beneficial and actually solve this problem for B2C marketers, which brings us to...
2. Customer Identity Resolution
Customer identity resolution has been a buzzword pretty much all of 2018 (popular earlier this year when Apple released Intelligent Tracking Prevention), and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Chances are, the further we get into 2019, the more you’ll hear about it. With customer data platforms, customer data management is key; with customer identity resolution, customer data management and activation is key. Forrester defines customer identity resolution as: “The process of integrating identifiers across available touchpoints and devices with behavior, transaction, and contextual information into a cohesive and addressable consumer profile for marketing analysis, orchestration, and delivery.”
Consumer browsing and buying habits are no longer linear—they continue to blur the lines between channels and devices, both in-store and online—yet they expect brands to identify, personalize, and deliver on their needs no matter where they engage. Customer identity resolution solves the problem of disconnected sources of identity by connecting these interactions across multiple email addresses, touchpoints, and devices belonging to a single consumer. This helps marketers easily identify, understand, and manage individual customers wherever they choose to engage with your brand to support more robust segmentation, targeting, personalization, and addressability within your emails, on your website, and so on.
Headed into next year, identity resolution should be a top priority for many marketers who want to identify, connect, attribute, activate, and automate their customer data to create better profiles of and better interactions with their customers.
3. Behavioral Marketing
Behavioral marketing: Sometimes referred to as automated personalization, and previously referred to as retargeting and real-time interaction management. It isn’t a new term by any means, but as the year’s progressed, it’s exploded into something that’s on many marketers’ minds as they try to understand how to better connect and leverage customer behaviors to deliver a more personalized customer experience. Amazon has mastered the art of behavioral marketing to skyrocket customer loyalty and sales, and consumers are now expecting other brands to follow suit if they even want a chance at their business.
And since it’s at the core of what we do here at SmarterHQ, we hear this question a lot from marketers from varying industries and roles: What exactly is behavioral marketing, and why should it matter to me? Behavioral marketing compels consumers to convert by aggregating individual customer data—such as pages visited, products or services carted and abandoned, and searches onsite—in order to understand what messages (emails, website, push notifications, ads, etc.) to automate to that individual customer. Marketers use behavioral data to react to customers’ interests in real-time as they actively browse, or use customer historical behaviors and purchases to drive additional engagement and revenue.
There’s no stopping the consumer demand for brands to truly “understand” them and their needs, so behavioral marketing is a must in the coming years, especially as consumer behaviors and interests continue to rapidly evolve and their expectations of ease and immediacy continue to increase. Without it, marketers will fall short to engage with customers accurately, efficiently, and with confidence.
4. Predictive Marketing & Artificial Intelligence
This is technically two different buzzwords, but many times they’re used in the same sentence. Let’s start with predictive marketing. Predictive marketing leverages behavioral data and combines it with predictive modeling to power customer messaging based on predictions of their future shopper behavior, their propensity to convert, likelihood to churn, or potential future spend. Since it takes the guessing game out of customer intent, predictive marketing allows brands to accurately provide the right personalized messages to the right person at the right time—and helps customers make the leap into new products and services they’re most likely interested in.
Artificial intelligence has been a topic of 2018 with the increasing conversations in the space about privacy and personalization, and whether or not consumers are okay with brands using AI (the term itself sounds more “big brother-esque”) and behavioral data tracking to improve their experience. We’ve found that customers are okay with it, within the proper limits of how that data is used: 70% of millennials are comfortable sharing their data with brands if it means they’ll get less marketing spam and more customized messages from brands. Artificial intelligence using machine learning models allow marketers to automate decisions around messages sent to customers based on behaviors from current and new customers whenever or wherever they interact with a brand.
Leveraging predictive marketing and artificial intelligence together (combined with customer identity resolution and behavioral marketing) shows your customers that you know them, and most importantly that you care enough about their business to understand their specific needs at a given time.