Data Practitioners, a London-based technology firm focused on data optimisation and utility, has issued its predictions for the use of application of marketing data in the year ahead and beyond. The predictions are from Data Practitioners’ team of behavioural science, AI and machine learning specialists, and point to new levels of commercial data utility whilst safeguarding the confidentiality of consumers.
- Data will become primarily an ‘insights applied’ tool rather than a ‘lessons learned’ tool. The majority of data analytics work that leading brands carry out will be driven by forward-looking activity. Brands will begin to realise that the real value of data will not be in understanding and predicting what will happen. This transition is happening already and will accelerate in the year ahead.
- Democratisation of the sophisticated use of data in marketing. No longer will the use of data for the purposes of marketing be confined to those with the budgets for large analytics teams. In the next 18 months we will see tools that will enable companies of any size to use innovative data techniques on a pay-as-you-go basis, making it accessible and affordable for all.
- GDPR and its impact are far from over. Data privacy and confidentiality concerns will continue to perpetuate a debate about the application of data in marketing and, for some businesses, stifle innovation. The data industry will need to invest in better communication with its target audiences in the year ahead to clarify the distinction between privacy safeguards and the utility of anonymised data in improving the quality and relevance of promotion.
- Personalisation and relevance in customer engagement will accelerate and improve. Over the course of 2019, consumers will notice a tangible improvement in the way that brands are engaging with them, particularly through digital channels. Compare a ‘basket’ of ads on January 1st, 2019 with a similar basket on December 31st, 2019 and we will notice huge improvements in relevance and applicability (at least from those brands using a data-driven approach).
- Knowing your customers will become a reality, not a marketing cliché. The combination of behavioural science and data will enable marketeers to gear offers to people based on who you really are. Facial recognition technology will become commonplace in the personalisation of advertising and customer engagement. Selfies, in other words, will act as ‘Sell-fies’: brands will understand what someone is likely to buy on the basis of their facial expression alone.
- Marketing organisations will change. Data analytics will begin to have a profound effect on the structure of marketing departments in the year ahead. This will enable better relationships to be built with finance departments as real performance becomes more transparent. Creativity and intuition will remain vital as brands fight for attention, but creativity will be underpinned by insights derived from data. The means of execution will become increasingly automated, but the outputs will be more nuanced and personalised.
- Mass marketing RIP. The mass element will continue to apply to reach, but within five years advertising will become an individualised element of the marketing mix – operating at a one-to-one level as opposed to one to many.
- From Alta Vista to Alter Ego: the ability to understand and predict consumer behaviour through a combination of data analysis, AI and behavioural science, is transforming traditional marketing techniques. Advertising as we know it will no longer exist in 10 years. It will be replaced by sophisticated anonymised and permission-based data sets that, when enhanced, effectively serve as consumers’ alter egos, understanding our preferences and intuiting our probable behaviours and responses. Instead of presenting the case for a choice, offers, underpinned by data and behavioural science, will bring us the nuanced choices that we are most likely to make.
- Now is the time to own, not rent data. 2019 will be a turning point in how brands value data. First party (brand owned) data will become the bedrock for not only how brands engage with customers but how they plan and navigate their businesses more widely. As such compliantly collecting, organising, managing and using customer data will and should be a priority for businesses.
Richard Robinson, chief commercial officer at Data Practitioners, adds, “In a way, these predictions are a double whammy because they are predictions about the increasingly predictive nature of data science. There is little doubt that consumers will be better served, and businesses will be better aligned, as emergent technologies and behavioural science combine.”