By Mark Kersteen - February 17th, 2016

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We’re going to be getting a lot closer to the customer...

As part of the lead up for Incite Summit: West, I asked our speakers what they saw as the most significant upcoming factors affecting their ability to target their marketing in the years ahead. Across industries, one thing seems clear: we’re going to be getting a lot closer to the customer.

Marketers’ capabilities for segmentation and personalization are multiplying at an incredible rate. While there’s any number of disruptions that could rock how we approach our marketing, all marketers should be prepared to know (and to use a lot more of what they know) about their customers than ever before.

This is something Andrew Strolin, Vice-President of Marketing at Nature’s Bakery, has been accounting for in his strategy:

It’s been great watching the switch to big data turn on - Andrew Strolin, Nature's Bakery

“Over the past decade or so, it’s been great watching the switch to big data turn on. In the coming years, we’re looking forward to affordable solutions that can help us more-readily turn that data into personalized consumer experiences through our traditional marketing tactics and in our digital marketing channels.”

It’s certainly a place a lot of brands are at right now. Investment in marketing capability is going to be a differentiator, but first this requires laying the groundwork and finding the right partners to help with this transition.

“At Nature’s Bakery we run a lean team, so it’s important we build key strategic partnerships with agencies and other companies to help empower the deciphering and implementation of that data to create consumer-centric campaigns across all of our channels.”

This could be a game-changer, and move us from ‘Kids & Cabernet’ Mosaic profiling to ‘Soccer & Stags Leap’ - Ryan Lauder, TaylorMade

The other critical factor for marketers to stay on top of is identifying new or changing channels, and how to get the most out of them. Ryan Lauder, Director of Consumer Engagement at TaylorMade, identifies streaming television and other forms of video as a new and open gateway to understanding your customers’ behavior. 

“With the recent growth in app-driven TV content and streaming services, in-home advertising will be one of the biggest drivers of personalization. This is due to that content being delivered via an IP address, with accurate data on what programming content is being consumed in a household, on which device, and at what time of the day.”

This is a huge leap forward, giving marketers insight into their customers’ media habits and connecting them with their interests ways that they could only hope for previously.

“This could be a game-changer and move us from ‘Kids & Cabernet’ Mosaic profiling to ‘Soccer & Stags Leap’.”

Messaging apps are taking over a huge part of our lives - Jessica Jensen, Facebook

Jessica Jensen, Head of Marketing at Facebook, is seeing advancements along other channels as well.

“People-based marketing across devices and platforms will emerge as the leading solution, and will allow marketers to do sequential storytelling across media with REAL measurement in a way they have never done before. Also, messaging apps are taking over a huge part of our lives and they are the ultimate personal communications and marketing channel. It’s exciting!”

However, with new advancements and opportunities come equally large challenges. It’s not enough for marketers to simply be looking for quick wins, keeping an eye out for potential bumps in the road and limiting factors is just as crucial.

Nancy Lee, Vice-President of Marketing at Intuit, raises her top concerns:

“Ad blocking may limit our capability to reach prospects, while privacy restrictions on data collection and sharing may impact our targeting ability.”

Both have been much-touted as the most imminent threats to the way marketers are currently doing their jobs. Legislation in Europe and Canada has completely revamped the way companies their share data and do email marketing, for example. While the ad-block apocalypse or a wave of legislation hasn’t hit yet, flexibility is an absolutely necessary part of any strategy moving forward.

I think segmentation is the key ingredient to personalization and targeting - Eric Rasmussen, GroupOn

However, no matter what new advances we face, the fundamentals of marketing hold true. Eric Rasmussen, Vice-President of Consumer Insights at GroupOn summarizes it eloquently:

“I think it all goes back to really knowing your customer and understanding the intersection of what you can offer and what they want - then delivering that in the best possible way. I think segmentation is the key ingredient to personalization and targeting.”

No matter the new technologies and channels marketers have at their disposal, the goal is the same: Understand the customer, figure out who wants what, and give it to them.

You'll be able to learn from Andrew, Ryan, Nancy, Jessica, and Eric in person at the upcoming Incite Summit: West

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