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Avi Dan of Forbes Magazine recently revealed what he predicted would be the top 10 future trends for 2015 in marketing. Two trends caught my eye: Transparency will become the most important tool of marketing and the imminent tsunami shift from globalisation to personalisation.
So, what do these trends mean for digital marketing?
Online transparency = online dominance
“Here’s the thing: when consumers get used to transparency, they’re also more interested in the quality of what you sell, and are more likely to willingly pay extra. And once people start moving in that direction, the cost of being an unethical provider gets so high that you either change your ways or fade away.” — Seth Godin’s blog
Customers will therefore become accustom to pay incrementally for service’s online which are directly correlated to the perceived value of each value add.
However, most brands fight the concept of radical transparency — even in digital age where the buying and decision-making power equation is almost exclusively in the hands of the customer.
Furthermore, most Omni-channel brands and online merchants struggle to keep up with the basic demands that social media and just in time online services require — let alone being transparent in the online space.
The situation will only get worse for Omni-channel brands and online merchants that do not respond positively to this trend. As market force drives towards more transparency online brands would need to consider the following:
- Identifying the key online touch points and timelines during the customer life-cycle process to identify what the customers priorities are in terms of transparency
- How much and with what to be transparent about
- Aligning the business objectives to these key transparency issue’s and timelines
- Understanding the impact which transparency will have in relation to its online and traditional competitors and its ability to deliver
- Identifying value adds that sprout from of being transparent and deciding what the perceived monetary value these have for the customer
- Utilising social media as checkpoints to benchmark customers’ perceptions of transparency and the value the company generates through its efforts.
- How to fully protect personal customer information
- Being totally honest and open about customer data collection and usage
Personalisation — 2015’s biggest strategic infliction point
“Baynote observes over 344-million visitor sessions a day and personalises over 400 shopping experiences every second.” — www.baynote.com
2015 will be the start of a new strategic infliction point for many online and Omni-channel brands as personalisation services expand. Growth will driven by ever increase in customers demands, advances in big data collection, integration and the ability segment and analyse it at granular levels as well as an increased localisation of products and service offerings.
Obstacles that will enlarge the strategic infliction point gap for Omni-channel brands and online merchants further include:
- The complexity in offering personalised choice on a global scale will become the norm, not the exception. This will put additional strain on global online resources and networks
- The ability to gather quality data and segmentation at granular level in real-time
- The global increase in customer demands to be serviced within a unique culture, language – specifically taking cognisance of culturally sensitive issues and taboo’s
- Generic market inefficiencies in third world countries. Smaller online merchants and brands in Africa and South Africa will be wise to exploit cultural, geographical and language barriers.
- Moving beyond ‘first — and second — generation’ solutions by offering more than just experiences based on community’ insight or slavishly following what customers previously looked at and bought
- Decentralisation in distribution, marketing and sales of products and services
- The ability to gauge customer intent on micro level using social media and other online tools
- Privacy issues at individual account level
- The ability to build and maintain large-scale distribution channels of one-to-one
- Careful consideration on the impact that the law of diminishing returns will exert on profitability
2015 — A Watershed year
2015 will be a watershed year for those Omni-channel brands and online merchants that can start to embrace transparency and personalisation and bring these disciplines into the online fold.
Omni-channel brands and online merchants that can offer transparency that is in the interest of the customer – and therefore personalised to a degree – will be the dominant brands of the future. Also, only those Omni-channel brands and online merchants that offer localised abundance of choice on an individualised granular level in all its varieties and complexities will thrive.