Steering the future of marketing transformation

Author: Vasanth Desikan Vasudevan

The digital marketing landscape is ever evolving. It is almost impossible to imagine what the future of digital marketing may offer when we speak of the future opportunities. However, we can see certain macro-themes which will shape up the marketing eco-system. As we all know the 4Ps (Product, Price, Promotion and Place) are foundational for marketing, however, there is a different set of 4Ps – Privacy, Personalization, Pandemic and Platform (MarTech), that could pave the way for next generation marketing.

The privacy-led future of digital

The privacy revolution has already arrived in the marketing industry. Growing awareness around data privacy, new and evolving regulations (with GDPR in 2018, CCPA in 2020, CPRA in 2023), the demise of third-party cookies (on web browsers) and Apple’s IDFA, have permanently altered traditional marketing practices built on third party data. Moreover, a significant consumer population is increasingly using ’ad blockers’. Almost 83% of business respondents anticipate moderate to significant impact on their digital marketing efforts due to these changes. Taking a privacy-first approach and being ‘first party database’ would be critical for marketing. Also, we can anticipate a broader partnership across Advertisers, Publishers, and DSPs that will benefit this cause.

Personalization leading the way

Recent trends reveal global digital content consumption has doubled in the year 2020. On an average, it was recorded at a 6 hours and 59 minutes. However, the attention span of humans has reduced to 8.25 secs which is, in fact less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Therefore, to cut through the “noise” and to win customers’ heart, personalized communication is critical.  Based on the RACE (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage) framework, e-mail and Paid Ads personalization offers maximum opportunity to increase customer interaction and enhances the value by engaging, re-engaging, and nurturing customers based on their requirements.

To achieve this, Personalized Marketing needs to address two key elements – targeting the right customer and targeting with relevant experience (product recommendations, content, offer). Once again, having a ‘first party’ based customer data is important to enable this.

The pandemic impact

Covid-19 have had life changing impact on humans and businesses, and it changed the way marketing was done. Marketing also had to adapt to a “New Normal”. The new approach to marketing would have to consider the following:

Video marketing: With increased digital content consumption and reduced attention span, there has been an uptick in snackable short video formats like Tiktok, Reels and Shorts. 91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video format more important for brands and this is the primary form of marketing media, being created in 2021.

Leveraging social media and influencers for word of mouth: During the pandemic, social network usage has increased drastically (520million new users Year to Date till July 2021). Also, for 27% of Gen Zs the primary use of social media is to basically following influencers Encouraging customers and influencers to share pictures, videos, reviews are proving to be great ways to get organic attention.

Continuous optimization through testing: As the macro-trends have been changing more often than not, it’s not a bad idea to hone- in a strong testing framework that will enable to continuously optimize Ad- Spend.

Platform (MarTech)

Technology is the key enabler for digital transformation, and it plays a vital role in the future of how marketing will be transformed.

Rationalization & optimization of MarTech: Traditionally, MarTech have been fragmented to support audience creation, activation (walled gardens) and measurement due to which there is an inconsistency in audience definition across channels and lack of orchestration across channels. More importantly, there hasn’t been end- to- end customer insights that can drive effective marketing strategy. So, the key is to have a consistent source of customer data and audience definition across channels, ability to orchestrate and measure customer behavior across channels.

Data analytics: With rich data sets and customer footprints, there is a huge opportunity to leverage data through AI/ML models for understanding customer behavior to provide effective personalization and optimize programmatic advertising. But on a more fundamental note, there is a huge opportunity to harness data to drive customer intelligence that can power the marketing strategy.

We live in a dynamically driven digital world and tech is changing every day before we know it. How do we cut through the clutter and make ourselves relevant? At Lowe’s, we are constantly innovating, reimagining, and rethinking the future of marketing to give our customers an unparalleled experience.

About the author:

Vasant Desikan Vasudevan is the Senior Director – Technology at Lowe’s. He is a passionate, customer focused and outcome driven product leader in Retail & CPG industry with an overall experience of 20+ years in strategizing, designing & building complex retail solutions. He has led both business and IT transformation across the traditional retail and e-commerce business across value streams including merchandizing, supply chain, marketing, commerce & customer services.