Any marketer knows that at the end of Q4, the marketing predictions for the year ahead run rampant. We’ve all seen them: “2014 Marketing Predictions That Might Surprise You” or “Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014” or “Marketing With Cat Memes.” One is never at want for media marketing forecasts.
Per usual, the heavy hitters were all there to usher in 2014. Wearable technology, mobile responsiveness necessity and gamification all prevailed as the predicted future of both marketing and technology, whose paths continue to converge. Nearly everyone also predicted a variant of a few other things: tailored customer experience, localization and the importance of people-based research.
The tie that binds all of these — and what is truly destined to be the next game changer in marketing — is customization, the need to create a customized experience for your customers and prospects, relying upon a deep knowledge and understanding of your audience.
New Tech, Same End-Goal
Let’s take a look back at the history of marketing in a nutshell, shall we?
Gutenberg created the printing press, revolutionizing mass communications. Billboards became a go-to medium for spreading messages. Ad spots were purchased for radio. Ad spots were purchased for TV. Banner ads were built. With the rise of social media, brands, employees, consumers and the general public all became publishers, able to spread their voice, ratings and reviews in real-time, to the masses.
It’s the age of new technologies, in which the new and novel is being built faster than anyone could ever hope to adopt, and for marketers, this sets the accountability bar higher than ever. Today, real numbers and hard-to-argue data back every decision, every test, every trial, every success — and yes, every failure — in ways previously unmeasurable.
“Today, real numbers and hard-to-argue data back every decision in ways previously unmeasurable.”
But ultimately, through any avenue and at the heart of positive measurability, marketing has always come down to the same thing: properly targeting your existing audience, while casting a wider net to attract a new audience. And leaving a favorable impression on both sets of parties.
In that context, customization is almost painfully obvious as the future of marketing. And in a world where we can print bones, plan to send people to Mars, and click our shoes to get home, all signs point to the fact that the future is here.
Customization is the Cornerstone
Customization in this sense can be defined as catering to your audience’s unique characteristics. What is their geo location? What are their occupations? What is their average annual income? What are their brand affinities? How big is their social network? What are their on and offline behavior patterns?
And most importantly, once you have this information, how do you make it actionable and turn it into real business benefits?
The ability to spread your message, while simultaneously surprising and delighting your current audience, and gaining a new following, is at your fingertips. The technology has been created. The only question is: are you living in the future?