The future of online marketing | M&M Global

The future of online marketing

M&M Global sat down with Stewart Maurer, Vice President of Marketing at Crownpeak to discuss the new media landscape and how marketers can meet consumers expectations.

What do consumers want from online experiences and how can marketers meet these expectations?

Consumers have increasingly high expectations of online experiences especially in terms of information quality, how messages render on different devices and how long they take to load. Digital is typically the first — and often only — way customers engage with brands. So if the experiences individuals receive aren’t exceptional a competitor’s website is just a click away. For example even major market forces such as Amazon have calculated that 100 milliseconds of latency costs 1% in sales.

The use of marketing technology has exploded in recent years and while these solutions can deliver improved analytics, targeting and functionality they can also cause the user experience issues mentioned above. Marketers are often unaware of the third-party technologies in use on their websites, which can harvest customer data in ways the marketer never intended. However, savvy marketers are increasingly using technology to locate these, rationalise their tech stack and ensure their site runs smoothly.

In your experience have marketers really come to terms with the General Data Protection Regulation, or is there still more work to be done?

While more companies are focusing on the letter of the law some are still failing to engage with its core objective: empowering consumers to control how their data is used. Understanding the GDPR’s purpose is in marketers’ best interests. Not only will embracing the regulation help avoid the infamous fines — up to €20 million or 4% of global revenue — but it will also allow marketers to build closer relationships with customers that are based on trust and delivering real value in exchange for data.

Marketers need to realise that old ‘Cookie Law’ style notices must disappear and be replaced by multiple-layered consent notices that give consumers more choice over what aspects of marketing communications they consent to, and which areas of the digital supply chain they wish to share their data with. This will be perhaps the most noticeable change in marketing practices, and because of its visibility, I believe it will be where the regulators are most likely to strike first.

If marketers focused their attention on only one issue, what should they prioritise?

As a marketer I know that it can seem like there is an endless list of tasks and only a small amount of time to complete them. With this in mind, I’d recommend zeroing in on a single question: ‘why do customers abandon shopping carts’?

More than 67% of shopping carts are abandoned, which translates to a total cost of $31 million every year. Understanding the cause of this can reveal a range of issues from content displaying poorly to bad payment processing and enable marketers to move concerns affecting the bottom line to the top of their priority list.

Frequently an organisation’s tech stack is at the root of most problems. While the array of smart solutions marketers deploy are invaluable assets to their businesses, complex tech stacks can also lead to user experience issues that cost sales.

Yet there are ways to reduce these risks. For example, by regularly employing Critical Path Monitoring, marketers can scan sites or mobile apps for glitches caused by third-party tech and make sure they are quickly addressed. What makes this approach so effective is that it takes the consumer’s perspective. The process entails simulating a real user journey: following the same sequence of pages and encountering the same issues they are likely to face. This process is fully automated; meaning just a small amount of attention focused on ironing out these issues can go a long way in boosting revenue.

What does the future of digital experiences look like?

The biggest change in marketing over the next few years will be the development of hyper relevant digital experiences. Marketers have already made much of big data, but in the era of the GDPR, collecting customer data is no longer a certainty: it’s a privilege that must now be earned. If marketers embrace this new reality around user consent I believe that hypertargeting will become the most powerful part of a marketer’s toolbox and fundamentally change how individuals experience the Internet.

As the level of insight available increases, ambient, behavioural and user-provided data will help marketers understand exactly what is relevant to a customer and how they wish to receive it. And by giving customers what they want, marketers will increase customer loyalty, sales, and value.

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