2020 was not exactly what we expected, but I would like to recall a famous quote by Albert Einstein: “In the midst of problems, there is a chance.”
2021 offers marketers the opportunity to see the barriers of 2020 as challenges and improve their work processes and methods. Four emerging themes, particularly around analytical marketing technology, will form the basis for Martech’s progress in 2021.
- Optimization and modernization replace complete transformation
Some Martech vendors are promoting a digital transformation agenda that is about “pulling and replacing” software systems. Why not focus on cost optimization, modernization of technology and processes, and renewal of marketing paths?
Digital transformation is a process that takes years. Instead of removing and rebooting entire systems, companies will focus on optimization and modernization through analysis in 2021.
This includes optimizing marketing resources, marketing program costs, and customer engagement processes, as well as updating marketing technologies to evolve into new roles – think of machine learning, data collection and transformation, and channel convergence.
- Machine learning becomes the primary means of marketing
In 2018, I wrote an article in which I stated that companies have not yet fulfilled the full promise of artificial intelligence (AI). Machine learning, a subset of AI, will become much more popular in 2021.
Machine learning models will be used to better predict the value of the customer and the potential customer – the value of qualified marketing leads on the web and on mobile channels.
Refueling machines and random forest models will be used to better target customers based on behavior. Better scores and analysis will lead to more personalization and, therefore, better conversion rates on digital channels.
The features mentioned in the 2018 article – product recommendations, loyalty programs, text and search, and digital ads – will also be enhanced with more and better use of machine learning.
- The assignment becomes mandatory
The customization of sales and marketing departments within organizations has become critical. Since physical sales interactions are limited, salespeople rely more on marketing outlets to drive the pipeline.
Attribution is an analytical technique, similar to optimization that will become common as organizations redesign and rediscover their strategies while controlling costs and processes more rigorously. More brands will want to accurately attribute the channel’s marketing activity to revenue. Clicks in the initial stage will be more closely related to engagement and conversion from the last stage.
The analytical frameworks for attribution have already been developed by some of the more mature marketing organizations and I think most fast followers will use the price more fully in 2021.
- Better conversational AI comes from enhanced digital engagement tactics
From a data perspective, brands will inevitably expand the level of detail of the customer data they collect – due to the limited interaction between physical channels, digital data on customer behavior is necessary for better engagement.
From an analytical perspective, chat partners in the form of chatbots and other digital engagement mechanisms will be used to provide advice on products and services, also known as “best offer” or “action” reviews.
The best conversational AI in 2021 will combine three things: enriched customer data, machine learning techniques for better forecasting and robotic automation, and AI resources for implementation.