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What’s Next? A Look at CRM Marketing Trends Is a Look at Digital Marketing’s Future

As treating your customers better and growing revenue through existing customers are becoming as strategic as any other marketing and revenue operation, we give you an insider's view into where things are going for the CRM Marketing market. You know, so you too could keep up

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Too many marketers still approach their jobs like they do their dating apps: it’s all about getting the catch. Branding and acquisition first, then everything else.

There are certainly not enough singles marketers out there that show they truly understand the value of meaningful, long-term relationships. And it’s a shame because the world is full of perfectly eligible bachelors and bachelorettes customers who are craving for someone to treat them right – and to return the favor with interest.

There’re no conversion rates higher than the ones you can achieve with your existing customers. With always-skyrocketing acquisition costs and eternally dynamic customer behaviors, existing customers represent the most significant under-fulfilled revenue channel for most brands out there.

We, of course, know why. Just like with dating apps, the “acquisition” part is considered way sexier and more thrilling than your good ol’ functioning relationship. Additionally, being great at marketing to your customers – whom you are supposed to know better – requires exhibiting better emotional intelligence. Requires a little more homework.

And it’s not for everybody.

The thing is, when it comes to revenue-generating B2C digital marketing, the ones who approach CRM Marketing as the strategic revenue pillar that it is, can attribute even as much as 33% of their revenue to it (as in, to “existing customers” buying with them again). Here at Optimove, we often see an even better rate than this.

Yes, it does require scaling personalization. And some challenges come along with it. But, thanks to technological advancements such as AI-mapped CRM journeys, the knowledge and the technical infrastructure to make it happen already exist. We see its results every day.

This is, basically, why we – and an entire enormous (and rapidly growing) ecosystem of multichannel marketing hubs and cross-channel campaign management platforms – are innately sure that CRM Marketing is the next core marketing tentpole to be considered automatically strategic for B2C brands in the immediate and near future.

Heck, the many, many successful and forward-thinking, and thought-leading brands are already there.

Which makes predictions for the future of this space, essentially, synonymous with predicting the most influential trend for digital marketing in general. In other words, follow CRM Marketing closely, and you’ll stay with the digital marketing game, while others fall behind.

And so, what can we – from our mile-deep AND mile-wide vantage point as CRM Marketing “Leaders” (according to Forrester) – see when we look a couple of years down the road?

A story in 8 bullet-points. Follow it, and you’ll know where it’s all going.

1) The arrival of a savvier independent marketer who wants to and knows how to leverage customer data to power intelligent multichannel marketing strategies.

To better understand customers, marketers have focused on gaining easier and more direct access to their customer data. But access to data is only a means to unlock the ability to provide customers with meaningful interactions across channels and at scale.

Optimove prospects and clients routinely focus on the steps to take after data access. Specifically, the interest in smart orchestration powered by unified customer data and less on achieving that unified customer data. It is safe to assume that these questions will only become more prevalent in the market in the next few years.

2) Insight-driven marketing will replace campaign-first marketing.

Marketers trained by the fire of the past year and a half have understood that customer insights are king for successful marketing campaigns. Whether by deploying social listening tools, leaning into behavioral analytics, or conducting consumer research, marketers looked to data about their customers when planning campaigns. This contrasts with the practice of thinking of a campaign idea first and looking for the customers to match later.

Optimove foresees this trend to continue as multichannel marketers begin to leverage their unified customer data to discover insights that dictate the segments, campaigns, messages and promotions that should be deployed.

3) The increased focus on customer insights as a marketing driver will lead to one-to-one personalization giving way to microsegment-based personalization.

As research by Gartner shows, returns from personalization have been challenging to reach. However, this will not mean that all personalization will be left behind.

In the next few years, personalization will shift from individual-based to persona- or microsegment-based as marketers look for new, more attainable personalization tactics.

4) The growth of microsegments and personas will move the marketing workflow bottleneck closer to campaign execution.

A few years ago, the main challenge for multichannel marketers was getting access to data. With this no longer being the case and marketers being able to ideate campaigns faster than ever, two new bottlenecks will arise—the orchestration and content bottlenecks.

First, as marketers discover an always-increasing number of interactions, trying to plot them all on traditional orchestration tools such as blank canvas journey builders will create considerable delays in time to market. Second, as interactions grow, content must follow. Human-generated content will no longer be able to match the expected pace of marketing departments.

As a result, new approaches to multichannel campaign orchestration and improved autonomous content generation will need to be present natively or via integrations within multichannel marketing hubs.

5) Brand scrutiny of underutilized and overpriced marketing technologies will increase.

The past year forced brands to conduct many martech reviews that focused on capabilities and costs. The result was discovering a considerable budget tied up on overlapping capabilities, underutilized ones, or, worse yet, capabilities they were not aware they were paying for.

These discoveries will make brands more thoughtful about evaluating marketing technology solutions and vendors more transparent with their pricing structures.

6) Resulting from the above, the market will continue to see a consolidation of adjacent spaces.

As buyers become aware of overlapping capabilities, technology vendors in the market will face increasing pressure. On one end, broader solutions will face pressure to stretch their solutions beyond their comfort zone as they look to replace overlapping vendors. On the other, point solutions will find their market share threatened by these broader solutions’ advancement on their specialized use cases.

The next few years will see this dynamic lead to continuous rounds of market consolidation either through mergers and acquisitions or the diminishing number of point solutions.

7) The gap between marketer ability and solution capabilities will be more significant than ever.

The recent digital acceleration has brought with it many opportunities for the multichannel marketing hub market. However, not all is positive. Marketers looking to accelerate their adoption of digital tools have been thrust to acquire solutions they are not ready for.

Although there will be increased scrutiny on unused capabilities and more consolidated capabilities under a single vendor, as more sophisticated solutions confront less mature marketers, frustration and underutilization will only rise.

8) Finally, context-based advertising will replace cookie-based advertising as the go-to digital marketing tactic.

Although marketers will have access to greater customer insights, they will only leverage them on owned channels.

As regulation increases and more restrictions are rolled out on cookie tracking, marketers will leverage context to target their audiences effectively, while solutions will need to provide the tools to execute context-based marketing tactics.

Are you and your marketing strategy aligned with any of these trends? Or, are you still mostly swiping campaign creatives left and right?

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Rony Vexelman

Rony Vexelman is Optimove’s VP of Marketing. Rony leads Optimove’s marketing strategy across regions and industries. Previously, Rony was Optimove's Director of Product Marketing leading product releases, customer marketing efforts and analyst relations. Rony holds a BA in Business Administration and Sociology from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management.