Last week at Dmexco I caught up with Suresh Vittal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at Adobe Marketing Cloud. I asked him about some of the key trends in digital marketing and where things are headed in future. 

We talked about everything from the explosion of new marketing channels and touchpoints to the importance of customer experience and solving the problem of too much data. 

I’ve shared three key insights from our conversation below. 

Digital marketing channels increased 10% in the last two years

Adobe’s analysis of more than 1.3tn web pages across 10,000+ websites in Europe and North America has found that marketers are using more touchpoints than ever to reach customers.

“These findings hint that digital marketing is becoming far more mainstream,” Vittal says. “Already people don’t talk about digital marketing, they talk about marketing that just happens to be digital.”

Vittal believes marketers will be forced to adapt to a scenario in which touchpoints are constantly changing. 

“You can’t rely purely on execution capabilities on a channel-by-channel or touchpoint-by-touchpoint basis,” he says. “If you do you won’t be able to scale your programmes because the pace at which new channels are being used by consumers is something brands can never keep up with if they think about execution in siloes.

“And when you execute in siloes you’re not orchestrated. I think customer journeys and orchestration will become the next big thing.”

Integration is another area that Vittal believes no marketer will be able to ignore in future, arguing that it’s going to become “a must-have, not a nice-to-have.”

Adobe Dmexco 2015

Customer experience is top priority for marketers

In another study by Adobe, marketing decision-maker respondents overwhelmingly cited customer experience (CX) as the top business objective.

Vittal says there has been a significant shift from marketing-centred approaches to more customer and experienced-centred ones, which he believes indicates two things:

“Firstly, people are beginning to tie spend and ROI to customer experience,” he says. 

“You could argue that customer loyalty is the sum of all positive and negative experiences somebody has had with a brand. Brands are starting to recognise this and putting more focus on customer experience as a result.”

Vittal’s second point is that CX is leaving the remit of the marketing organisation and spreading across the rest of the business to areas such as sales or customer service. 

He says, “Brands are starting to position (the improvement of CX) not so much as a marketing transformation but as a business transformation.”

Not all data is created equal

One of the most commonly cited challenges in the surveys we carry out is difficulty managing the enormous amount of data available to marketers today. 

Vittal believes the solution is not to try and make sense of all the data you have, but rather to choose wisely in terms of the data you are going to spend your time going after. 

“The volume isn’t going to slow down,” he says. “The challenge is not in looking at how much data you can get but actually which types of data are going to provide the kind of signal that marketers can act on.

“We’ve invested in machine learning and algorithm technology to help marketers achieve this. We’re trying to get them to look at what data is actually going to predict behaviours rather than simply collecting data for the sake of it.”

Vittal says the next stage in data strategy is going to be harvesting data that can be used to drive action in real time.  

“We need to sift through all that data and find the variables that are genuinely predictive,” he says. “Once we’ve found them, we want to make those insights available at the point of interaction, i.e. where the experience is happening.”

You can learn even more about the future of marketing at our two day Festival of Marketing event in November. Book your ticket today!

Jack Simpson

Published 23 September, 2015 by Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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