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Segment of One: A Glimpse into the Future of Digital Marketing

By Michael McNichols

At Modern Customer Experience in Las Vegas, Shashi Seth, SVP of Oracle Marketing Cloud, described how the future of marketing is basically looking at a segment of one (in a panel called “The Future of Digital Marketing).

It all started with mobile, which has impacted digital marketing in a huge way. Seth pointed out that consumer behavior has changed with the times, too. Customers now expect more from their brands, and micromoments count. What is a micromoment? It involves a consumer interacting with a brand at the touch of a button and in real time. The challenge for digital marketers now lies in intersecting people at micromoments with relevant marketing messaging that adds to their lives rather than disrupting them.

The Changing Landscape of Marketing

According to Seth, customers now expect a unique, connected, and seamless experience across all channels and instant gratification. You only have a micromoment to capture their attention and hold it with a strong message and delightful and engaging experience. If you don’t, they will move on to the next offer. This has made the old methods of marketing obsolete.

Thus, modern marketers must adopt a mobile-first approach with their global audiences. You must keep in in mind that customers:

  • Desire to all be treated uniquely.
  • Are in charge. They decide when, where, and how they’ll interact with your brand. They want a frictionless experience and to be able to start a conversation on any channel, which can carry seamlessly onto another channel if they choose.
  • Wish to be served in the least amount of time possible but with the most convenience.
  • The walls between B2C and B2B are breaking down. The delightful experiences people have had with B2C are making them expect more of the same from B2B, but really, you are always marketing to people, regardless of whether it is B2B or B2C. You could say that it is now B2ME.

Traditional segmentation is vanishing, and every customer wants the most relevant and personalized experience possible tailored to them. How can you connect and engage with them? They are basically asking for not just personalization but hyper-personalization. They want to be treated as a segment of one.

Get Ahead of the Curve

This might be the future, but the future is now. It is happening right in front of everyone’s eyes. You cannot afford to be left behind. In fact, you best get ahead of the curve.

But how can a smart, savvy digital marketer do so? Seth feels that these are important actions to take:

  • Adopt a data-first mindset. More data fluidity and making better use of the data you have will allow you to better understand customers and anticipate their needs and not waste even an iota of their time.
  • Push automation and intelligence to the max. The huge amount of data you will need to capture and process along with and customers expecting to be served in real time requires marketing automation to help you. You have to be able to do more with what you have, and marketing automation will allow you to save precious time, effort, and money.
  • You must treat every customer uniquely, differently, and appropriately. You need to take the intelligence you derive from micromoments and stitch them together for a fuller picture of your customer and to create a more connected experience.
  • Embrace omnichannel fluidity. You have to be ready to engage with customers across any channel and in real time and keep up with them if they go from channel to channel.

Data Versus Intelligence

To create the right marketing message, Seth thinks that you need both data and intelligence. What is the difference between the two? Intelligence is data put together with the right and most proper context to put it to work. The right context provides a deeper understanding of customer needs, behaviors, values, and preferences.

Intelligence helps you hyper-personalize and craft better and more effective marketing. It helps you anticipate customer needs and get right to the point when addressing them to engage with them and pique and hold their interest. It will allow you to create content that takes into account where a customer is when they receive it and speaks more directly to them.

Find out more about data and how to craft effective marketing based off of it with “Getting the Digital Handshake Right.”

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