Ah, the week before the New Year… otherwise known as “my week to catch up on absolutely everything I’ve been procrastinating about for the past month.” My house is clean, my inbox is organized, I’m writing this blog—and I’m reading up on articles predicting what 2018 has in store for marketers and their data-driven marketing efforts.
My favorite predictions so far come from a report recently published by Mintel, titled “2018 Telecom Marketing Trends,” which highlighted a number of technology developments coming our way in the year ahead. Namely, even faster internet speeds (5G!), the proliferation and consolidation of streaming video options, and—most intriguing to me—dashboards that are better at helping consumers interpret their content usage, control their content preferences, and customize their experience accordingly.
Connected Consumers Need Help Making Sense of Data
I stopped to think about all the technology that’s recently made its way into my daily life beyond my smart TV and cable box. I’m tracking an almost obnoxious amount of information. I have a wristband that tracks my steps (at least when I decide to wear it), a bed that tracks my heartrate, and a bottle that knows exactly how many ounces of water I drank today. My home has lights and a thermostat that are controlled through an app that can help me manage my energy usage in real time, and even a doorbell that knows when I have visitors and sends a live feed to my phone.
I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat ready to hear all the fantastic analysis and actionable changes I’ve implemented in my life thanks to these great inventions. But as innovative and exciting as these products are, I don’t really have time to do much of anything with all the information they give me. The good news is that I think I’ve stumbled upon a perfect New Year’s resolution!
And that’s exactly the point: consumers need help making better sense of all the data we’re now creating on a daily basis through our connected lives. Better tools and dashboards could allow these disjointed data points to work together to form a clearer, more complete picture so that we can draw meaningful conclusions.
Data-Driven Marketing Must Be Responsibly and Effectively Deployed
Moving past my excitement over the implications this could have on my own habits, I’m intrigued by how these emerging data sources will impact the data-driven marketing offers I get in the future. How much longer before marketers are connecting my email address with data from my water bottle or doorbell? And if/when that happens, what kinds of products or services will those marketing pieces sell us? How will a company show us that these products or services are something we want or need? Better yet, how will marketers sell their product using our data without it seeming like they are peering into our windows?
The growing amount of data, combined with consumers’ desire to use that data to improve their everyday lives, will have to be balanced with consumers’ expectations of privacy. For marketers, that means using a deft hand when they handle consumer data and craft their messaging. Consumers like me want to improve many aspects of our lives, and we’re looking for suggestions, so it’s a golden opportunity for marketers to sell products and recommend services―just as long as they find a way to do it that benefits consumers more than it alarms them.
While I don’t have the answers yet, I’m truly fascinated by the possibilities and look forward to watching this trend unfold in 2018 and beyond to help to guide our clients’ data-driven marketing strategies (and keep me hydrated, of course!).