The Year’s 5 Biggest Challenges and Trends in Marketing

marketing-986290_960_720As 2016 rapidly winds to a close, Daniel Brzezinski, CMO & VP of Marketing & Product Development at GetResponse, recently shared with MMW what he thinks were the year’s 5 biggest challenges and trends in marketing.

Given that more than 350,000 businesses use GetResponse for their online marketing,  Brzezinski certainly knows what he is talking.

So what made the cut on Brzezinski’s list? Find out below.

Ad fraud is still a big problem

“To be clear, the US has one of the worst ad fraud rates in the world. This year, it’ll cost the industry more than $7 billion in ad dollars – up, again, from 2015. For comparison, Australia, France, Germany, and the UK all have better rates. On the bright side, as the problem has skyrocketed, so has awareness among advertisers. This has led to supply-side changes, with publishers eliminating high-risk, fraudulent inventory. We’re also seeing more industry-wide standards and incentives in place this year than there were two years ago. Together, these things are turning the tide – albeit slowly. As fraud lingers, however, marketers might look at other channels that have more inherent engagement and audience buy-in – like mobile apps and email – to launch campaigns.”

Marketers are stuck on data collection  

“Today, more than 92% of marketers collect information on customers or prospects. Data-driven marketing is the industry standard. But we’re still stuck in idle, focusing on data collection. Most marketers are just learning how to crawl when it comes to making data actionable at scale. 2016 didn’t see that change much, unfortunately. When it comes to data implementation, an alarming number of marketers still lack the internal experience – at either the functional or operational level – to be successful. This will change as marketing tools become more self-service. Others will offer machine learning capabilities to drive immediate applications of the customer data.”

Marketing software is too hard

“In 2016, technology’s ease-of-use has become a much bigger focus for the marketing industry. As the customer journey has grown more complicated – with more touchpoints and data – software supporting marketers needs to be simplified. This will optimize adoption and support ROI. Marketing software shouldn’t be a rite of passage. To navigate the complexity of the modern customer journey, marketing software has to be built on ease-of-use, with intuitive UIs and functionality. This has been a key focus this year. Advertisers, agencies and marketers want more platform simplicity from vendors.”

A spotlight on geo-spatial data

“2016 was the year of Pokémon Go. And, despite a fade down the stretch, its overall popularity – 55 million users in its first month out – makes one thing very clear: location-based data is still the key to understanding customer context as mobile become the dominant screen. From traditional channels like email to more bleeding-edge platforms like AR, VR and 360-degree video, location data powers insights on how to best engage customers in a more personalized way through mobile. 2016 will go down as the year the majority of advertisers realized just how critical geo-spatial data, in a post-mobile environment, will be for the future.”

Open platforms that speak to each other

“More than 50% of marketers are using 5-10 technology platforms. Another 30% use 11-16. Even as vendor consolidation occurs in the market, it will take years for these platforms to truly unify. The key, in the interim, is openness and technology agnosticism. Programmatic platforms, marketing automation services, and other solutions need to be able to talk to each other, with two-way connections. These technologies need to be open and integration-ready with more and more services. Increasingly, integrations are a determinative factor when marketers choose vendors. It’s simply a necessity given the way they operate today. Services that are closed systems won’t stand a chance.”