Every marketing department plays a vital role in the success of a business. From promoting an organisation’s mission, to providing leads to the sales team – the work of marketing makes a direct impact on a company’s bottom line, and its future success.

But it’s important to understand that marketing is changing. Gone are the days of “spray and pray”, with the distribution of one-size-fits-all messages. It’s important for every facet of the business – from the C-Level to the front line – to come to grips with these changes, and to empower the marketing team with future-proof tools and standards that deliver success.

Here are three ways to future-proof your marketing that every business needs to know.

Use AI to augment marketing

Artificial intelligence (AI) marketing is here, and it sets the foundation for future-proofing a brand. Initially, AI was focused on building systems that could make intelligent decisions, but it has quickly evolved, and now has numerous applications across almost all sectors.

For marketers, AI provides the bridge between marketing and data. Ultimately, human-driven personalisation doesn’t scale, but AI does, and that has given the technology legs in marketing. Using AI, brands can understand and anticipate the behaviours of customers in order to serve better, more personal, more relevant experiences that lead to increased loyalty over time.

According to Forbes, AI can help deliver a personalised marketing journey by leveraging tools like SMS, push notifications, email marketing and content recommendations, to better serve customers with appropriate and timely content. Business leaders should expect to see a future with greater adoption of AI marketing technology, and a wider array of AI-related technologies to be deployed across their organisations.

Establish data privacy measures quickly and effectively

Data privacy continues to dominate headlines. As a result, consumer concern about how companies are using, storing and protecting their data is going to continue to rise. Data privacy and protection is an area that demands focus across a business – from the boardroom to the frontline.

More than 60 data breaches were reported to the Australian government’s privacy body in the first six weeks of the mandatory breach notification scheme. This, coupled with the arrival of the GDPR, has brought consent to the forefront of the consumer mindset.

For business leaders, this means that, rather than a company taking customer data as the prerequisite of a purchase and then doing whatever they like with it, a company must get explicit permission to use consumer data. In addition, that data still belongs to the customer, meaning they can decide who has access to it, when, and for how long.

On the flip side, marketers should recognise the value of regulations such as GDPR, which drive consent-based interactions that can lead to more refined, relevant and personalised engagements between brands and their customers.
Don’t forget, technology holds the key to innovation

Emerging technologies, like blockchain, hold the key to innovation that will not only vastly improve a customer experience but also the marketer’s experience. Learning now how high-potential technologies can benefit marketers in the coming years will yield dividends for the business.
There are several other technologies to be aware of, both in marketing and across the wider business.

These include:

  • Augmented reality, VR and immersive experiences.

    In an age where our lives are impacted by technology from almost every angle – from online shopping to social media – using AR to create immersive customer experiences can create exceptionally valuable experiences for consumers.

  • Automation.

    Most of today’s brands already use automation at scale to operationalise, personalise, and enhance relationships with customers. This will continue to become more sophisticated over time.

  • Geolocation.

    Pairing mobile apps and push notifications with the ability to tell where customers are will help organisations serve up hyper-relevant, location-based content, such as stock updates or store-based offers.

  • Virtual assistants and chatbots.

    Chatbots are already being used by companies like Domino’s Pizza and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to drive sales and enhance customer experience – this is another trend set to rise as bots become more intuitive and human-like.

What’s next?

Business leaders must remember that marketing strategies that worked 10 or even five years ago are now outdated. Marketing teams cannot become complacent, and organisations should not let technological innovations that could propel their brands forward pass them by.

At the same time, businesses must be transparent about how and why they use customer data. This has become critical to obtaining and retaining customers. Understanding these basics is a sure way to future-proof an organisation’s marketing strategy and drive success over the coming years.