The CMA Insights Council sat down just before the start of 2019 to talk about trends and hot topics. We debated what data-driven Canadian marketers should pay attention to as we get into the new year. This lively pre-holiday discussion with data scientists, strategists and research professionals covered a lot of ground, from emerging technology to age-old organizational challenges. Here are five topics that got the most attention:
A hot topic even beyond Insights and Analytics is the role of voice and personal assistants in the marketing mix. Some CMA Insights Council members are focused on how the use of voice can capture more natural customer insights, as well as addressing privacy concerns that come with this kind of data collection. Others are pondering how to use the voice data they are collecting, and how to cope with the pace of change and volume of insights. But much of the discussion was about what’s next. The way consumers are asking questions is changing rapidly, along with consumer behaviour and expectations. We have moved from query by search bar, to smart phone, to “air” (via personal assistants), to what? What role can insights and analytics play in ensuring marketing success in this new environment?
- Augmented Reality
While far from emerging tech now, Augmented Reality (AR) is starting to find its way into marketing programs in a more practical way than ever before. From a data and insights perspective, our Council members are confronting implementation and measurement challenges associated with AR becoming a day-to-day reality vs just pie-in-the-sky thinking. Really understanding how customers are experiencing and interacting with your brand via AR applications, and turning those insights into action, will be a hot topic for many in 2019.
- Hyper-personalization vs hyper-relevance
In the past, we talked about delivering hyper-personalized experiences. This year, our conversation was about how to ensure that these personalized experiences are actually relevant to consumers. “Just because it has my name on it, doesn’t make it relevant” is something we are hearing more often. A lot of the time, relevance equals speed: the most hyper-personalized communications can be irrelevant if they are delivered after the purchase decision has been made.
- Single view of the customer
Many Canadian organizations (particularly larger ones) still struggle with how to define and manage a single view of the customer. With new, emerging, and more unstructured data sources becoming available all the time, this idea has never been more important both from a marketing measurement and from a planning perspective.
- Attracting and retaining data and analytics talent
About three-quarters of big companies and brands now employ chief data officers and include more and more data scientists into their business teams. For some on the council, the struggle is finding and keeping the right data talent – and the focus in 2019 will be on creating collaborative environments, with fewer silos and more teamwork. In this kind of environment, insights and analytics can provide the most value and practitioners also feel the most valued.
About the author: Scot Riches is the Chief CRM Officer at RI.