As a global marketing research and advisory firm with over 38,000 marketing professionals, CEOs and business owners using their services, Demand Metric is perfectly placed to gather the kind of insights and data few advisory firms have access to.
This can range from custom research studies (like the one shared here today), to a repository of business tools, templates and more to help businesses align their goals with the right data, strategy and technology.
It’s from this data that Clare Price, VP of Research at Demand Metric, has collated and released their benchmark 2014 Outlook Study: Highlights and Horizons, which shares insights from 2013 and where that’s taking us in the year ahead.
The Highlights of 2013
If there were two major impacts on the business landscape last year, it was the year that the customer really came to the fore.
Sure, social media has enabled the average consumer a bigger stage on which to better communicate with brands – but now these brands had much stronger tools to analyze and learn from these conversations.
Additionally, it was also the year that saw Marketing consolidate its position at the forefront of revenue production, as well as enabling the customer life cycle to be better understood across all facets of the business.
As a result, some key shifts began to happen.
Quality Lead Generation is Playing a Bigger Role
While a digital strategy is still primarily about growing brand awareness and driving web traffic, lead generation is enjoying increased importance.
Not just lead generation, but better quality leads, showing that segmentation and remarketing is being used properly in digital marketing campaigns. Conversion still needs to increase to complement the lead, but as data analytics improves, so should the lead to conversion ratio.
Making Digital an Experience
Because digital marketing has the advantage of being more fluid over more traditional methods, the customer experience is key in relation to revenue and growth.
Instead of the typical spray and pray approach that marketing and advertising has been known for, now it’s about far more sophisticated data and building an experience around that (think of Canadian beer company Moslon and their beer fridge around the globe for Canadian passport holders).
Get the experience, get the mindset of the customer.
Enabling the Sales Team
Marketing is nothing without sales. We can get all the campaigns right, all the product or service in the right place, all the offers ready – but without a sales team to make it happen, marketing is simply a mindmap waiting to become physical.
Businesses are realizing that enabling the sales team for all possible outcomes (or as good as) offers an immediate advantage.
Customers can take pre-sales research and compound their decision with a savvy sales rep; customized content makes for better presentations at corporate sales meetings; and marketing and sales are far more aligned in goals and what needed to happen, as ooposed to being silo’d.
The Horizon of 2014
So what does this mean for the next 12 months? To find out, Demand Metric took their findings of the past year and combined it with predictions from various stakeholders, clients and analysts/directors at the company.
These predictions include:
We’re moving towards a concept that I like to call ‘slow media’. Slow media compels your customers to want to hear what your brand is saying because you’re creating meaningful media that has context and relevance to your customers. – Jessica Ann, Senior Research Analyst, Demand Metric.
We now have linguistic mapping tools that allow us to… understand what the customer wants, connect archival history with our brand’s core business or competitors, and at what stage of the buying cycle they’re at, so you can prime your message for that exact moment… [allowing us] to truly take advantage of that technology and deliver. – Danny Brown (me!).
The results of predictive analytics, trends and patterns will be questioned when the ‘advice’ of these applications do not match reality. – Christine Crandell, Research Director, Demand Metric.
In 2014, I foresee a more equal share of marketing budget invested in both offline (store) and online (web) with an emphasis on linking the offline audience to online campaigns through smartphones and interactive media. – Han Verbaas, SVP Europe & Middle East, Demand Metric.
These are just some of the predictions (or Horizons) included in the report, and each prediction is combined with what the person saw as a key shift in 2013 and how that plays into the year ahead.
The Demand Metric 2014 Outlook Study offers an interesting look at where we’ve come from, and where we need to go to continue to grow not only the marketing discipline, but the integrated business discipline if businesses want to truly succeed in the ever-changing business landscape we find ourselves operating in.
You can download the full report for free here.
Disclosure: I’m a Research Director at Demand Metric on the topics of digital, social media, and data analytics.